Friday, May 8, 2009

My personal views on wealth redistribution and universal healthcare

It seems to me that the debate on healthcare is ultimately predicated on the question of whether healthcare is a privilege or a right. I am not a heartless bastard; I would not begrudge medical care to anybody who needs it because of an inability to pay. I'm not sure if this is just because I live in Chicago, home of the "we cater to the lowest common denominator, seek only to please underemployed minorities and encourage as many people as possible to adopt an entitlement mentality in an attempt to boost Mayor Daley's approval ratings" or if it's how liberals all over America think of healthcare, but in any case, a lot of at least anecdotal ramblings I hear from people regarding their complaints of healthcare is that it is somehow the doctors' and specialists' collective fault for demanding compensation. Somehow, it is the burden of the physician to bear all fault for the entire uninsured or underinsured population's woes in healthcare.

As it should be well known by now, a single-payor, or in other words, entirely government-run insurance program, has as many inherent faults and problems with it as does the current privitized-only healthcare system we use in America. In countries with such a plan, such as Canada, this system has led to the rationing of resources, insane wait times for what we consider routine or preventative measures in America, 9 month to one year waiting lists for things like transplants or complicated procedures, and in some cases, a complete inability to meet patient demands in certain fields, such as neurosurgery and oncology. For this reason, Canada routinely sends hundreds of patients over the American border every year, from things such as baby delivery to cerebrospinal and brain injury treatments. In addition, certain procedures or treatments for unusual or rare conditions are just refused flat out, leaving the patient with no choice but to live with the discomfort until they ultimately die. The government denies this is ever due to the expense; however, it is widely known and accepted that certain services are cut due to their cost. This rationing of resources obviously results in death many times - the case of Natasha Richardson certainly makes one wonder, as hospital administrators struggled to determine whether a CT Scan or MRI was a necessary cost to evaluate the late actress' brain. Had she been in America, where MRIs are standard, Ms. Richardson's doctors would have noticed hemorrhaging immediately and she might have survived.

In any case, the disgruntled malaise which was limited formerly to the lower class, but with the recession and increasing cost of healthcare, has found its way into the middle class zeitgeist as well, has sought a scapegoat for its anger and collective frustration. In the spirit of the current "blame/hate/soak-the-rich" mentality fostered by the Obama administration, people have turned to blaming the fact that "doctors make so much money." I have the feeling that most Liberals hold physician compensation as the reason why their healthcare costs are so high - and the government, with its new policy of determining executive compensation and blaming anyone earning a decent income as the problem and not the solution - only serves to fuel the fire. I am speaking in defense of medical professionals. Of all professions, very few require as extensive, thorough, difficult and demanding education and training as those in medicine. Doctors save lives - on top of that, they take oaths to do no harm and to basically exist for the sole purpose of bettering mankind and alleviating pain. The cost of obtaining a medical education is, all things considered, routinely over a quarter of a million dollars. Additionally, it requires sacrificing a decade of life to maintain grueling work and study schedules. Contrary to (liberal/communist) popular opinion, all jobs are not inherently equal. Obama's ideal, idiotic fantasy world where everybody doing work should receive equitable payment is absurd. Not all professions, or people for that matter, are equal. The doctor SHOULD and MUST make more than the hairdresser. The surgeon SHOULD and MUST make more than the plumber. The difference in skill required to do the job is so vastly different it would be criminal to even suggest that "the output of a hairdresser should yield similar pay to the output of a doctor." The fact that uninformed, ignorant miscreants with no outlets to vent their frustration have the audacity to lay the blame with some of society's greatest producers is simply ludicrous and shows a serious lack of maturity. "Can you believe that doc made $3000 just to fix my broken nose? Maybe if he wasn't allowed to participate in this highway robbery our insurance premiums wouldn't be through the roof." First of all - the reason that doctor had to charge $3000 instead of $2000 is thanks to low lives like these complainers, who over the last two decades have sought making a quick buck by engaging in frivolous lawsuits, sending these doctors' malpractice insurance rates skyrocketing. The reason he had to charge $2000 instead of $1000 is due to the fact his patient' insurance doesn't even reimburse him for the entire cost, thanks to the fact millions of Americans, with their smoking, drinking, overeating and unwillingness to exercise - in general, laziness - have made the business of insurance an increasingly unprofitable one. In sum - start by blaming yourself, not your doctor.

To conclude, this alarming trend in American culture in which people have no qualms about hating those who produce the most, is only going to result in cataclysm. An ever dwindling number of producers is being held more and more responsible for supporting an ever growing number of people dependent on the government dole for their livelihood. Eventually, a critical mass tipping point will be encountered - and you might find the people who used to delight in providing premium healthcare at competitive costs have abandoned their specialties for more lucrative and less stressful ones, or have fled to countries where their talents are appreciated and compensated properly.


Anonymous said...

You had me until you started blaming "frivolous" malpractice lawsuits for the current health care crisis. Frivolous lawsuits don't cost ridiculous amounts of money. They're thrown out at the summary judgment stage. Most states (even Illinois - thought to be very plaintiff friendly) has exacting requirements for medical malpractice lawsuits. Malpractice suits costs 10's of thousands of dollars for plaintiff's lawyers to prosecute. Except in cases of obvious negligence with substantial damages (e.g. life time required care as a result of said negligence), any attorney worth his salt would quickly lose favor in whichever jurisdiction he/she practices.

Insurance companies have the best scapegoat - lawyers. Who doesn't love to hate lawyers? Insurance premiums have doubled despite the fact that malpractice judgments were steady for a long time and have even tapered off. They're not going to admit that they were filling their coffers - it's the lawyers fault for seeking millions of dollars in damages for the child who, as a result of a medical negligence, requires lifetime care. The insurance company wants to dehumanize plaintiffs, demonize lawyers, and canonize doctors. It's a tactic. And its effective. -JN

Anonymous said...

Amendment to first paragraph, last sentence: "... practices, should they begin filing meritless lawsuits." -JN

Caitlin Huxley said...

I have to agree with anonymous about malpractice lawsuits not being the major issue. It's more the governments increasing regulations, Medicaid & Medicare which is putting so much pressure on doctors & hospitals & causing prices to skyrocket for those of us who are actually responsible for ourselves & don't look to the government for handouts.

Other than that, it's a great post!

Log Cabin Republican said...

thank all of you guys for your great comments! I didn't know that re: the frivolous lawsuits so thanks for clarifying that for me. I do apologize for not researching that better. Thanks for your support as well! God bless and happy 4th!

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