The health care we receive here in the U.S. is bar none, among the best in the world. So why do we insist on calling this recent government attempt at takeover of our health care system a “Health Care Reform”. In fact what is reform? Well, most dictionary definitions are as follows: “To change to a better state, form, etc.; to improve by alteration, substitution, abolition, etc.”
Health care here in the United States, as we just stated, is without question among the best in the world, and this is easily identifiable simply be examining how many people from countries where there is government controlled health care, flee to the United States to receive better, more comprehensive. and more expeditious health care or treatments than they otherwise have access to in their home countries. These include Canada and European countries, where socialized medicine is the norm.
So, while the talk may be about health care reform, we submit that what the debate should be about is health care cost reform. Additionally, to insinuate that insurance companies are solely at fault for the rising health care costs is just absurd. Insurance is expensive because health care costs have spiraled out of control. Insurance companies make the payments, and in many cases they get the discounts, because of their pooled purchasing power.
Consequently, if we are to focus our discussions on healthcare costs, where the discussion should rightfully be focused, then we should fully examine and realize why the costs are constantly increasing, and doing so at a pace that exceeds inflation or income growth.
One major reason for these ever increasing healthcare costs is the ridiculous prices doctors must pay for their required malpractice insurance. Many want to blame the insurance companies for the high prices. However, before we persist in this line of thinking, we would do well to consider the law, and the frequency with which doctors are sued in court with nonsensical and or frivolous lawsuits. Most importantly, with these frivilous lawsuits comes a high price tag for their defense.
Defense costs for lawsuits are borne by the insurance companies providing medical malpractice insurance. Many people are believers in the need for legal or tort reform, so too does the author of this article believe in this need. Many people truly believe this tort reform would significantly reduce medical malpractice insurance costs, as well as overall medical costs.
Let us open up legal action against any lawyer who brings to bare a frivolous lawsuit and then let us see the real and legitimate claims which are made in courts, while frivilous suits and claims are opem to counter claims and counter suits. Were this the case, then the number of cases would likely drop significantly and the cost of malpractice insurance would likely plummet, as would health care costs, were these frivilous suits reduced.
For a minute, let us take a look at but one example of how this comes into play. Not long ago a man had an accident. While reaching down to remove a stick from near his lawn mower he lost two finger to the blade. He received many (nearly 30) calls from legal professionals urging him to sue the doctors for the loss of his fingers. The silly thing is, the doctors and hospital did their best to save his fingers from his own stupidity. Yet even after re-attachment they were unable to help or to save the fingers. Still, even if the case is completely frivolous, legal professionals were urging him to sue the doctors and hospital for not saving his fingers. It was absolutely crazy, I know, the man was my father in law.
When suits like this are initiated the insurance companies have to hire or pay their lawyers to defend the doctors in these law suits, and the never ending circle of legal chicanery continues in perpituity. The lawyers have us all caught in a no win situation. They sue doctors and file frivolous suits, then they demand that people have rights to file these suits in order to protect themselves. Certainly no one would argue that people have such rights, in fact they do and should, but only in real cases. Not cases initiated simply to acquire money, and argued with a paid expert, paid witnesses, paid examining physicians, and sometimes plaintiffs who are simply lying.
Filing so many frivolous suits and so frequently, the legal profession has become a major contributing factor to the exceptionally high malpractice insurance fees that doctors have to pay. Thirty years ago if I wanted to see my doctor, he would show up at my home and charge me a fair price to see me. Now I cannot see him or her without first having insurance. I is absurd.
So we say, let’s start this medical cost reform with a healthy dose of tort reform. Let’s have recourse on attorneys who file frivolous suits, let’s have tort reform where doctors can sue attorneys for any lawsuit they file which the attorney loses and where the doctor was found to have committed no wrongdoing or malpractice. Certainly if the initiated suit discredits the doctor or puts them through unnecessary legal action, then the initiating attorney should be held accountable. Let’s start there and see how dramatically these frivolous suits drop off.
As for the next aspect of rising health care costs, the problem comes when the public and/or certain organizations that assist the public, abuse the system. You may ask; How does this happen? Let’s take a look at real life example of this. Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. Each episode, called an apnea, lasts long enough so that one or more breaths are missed, and such episodes occur repeatedly throughout sleep. The standard definition of any apneic event includes a minimum 10 second interval between breaths, with either a neurological arousal (a 3-second or greater shift in EEG frequency), a blood oxygen desaturation of 3-4% or greater, or both arousal and desaturation. Sleep apnea is diagnosed with an overnight sleep test called a polysomnogram, or a “sleep study”. This condition can lead to high blood pressure, heart problems and conditions, and in extreme cases even death.
Treatments include wearing a mask conencted to a machine (Called a CPAP machine) which blows air through the nose or nose and mouth thereby maintaining an open airway and eliminating the apnea’s. The CPAP machine, mask, and accessories can cost from a few hundred dollars to a couple thousand dollars. When one is diagnosed with sleep apnea and a CPAP prescribed, one’s insurance may cover the cost of the machine and accessories. However, in many instances the insurance companies are forced to significanlty overpay for these devices for their insured individuals. The reason is that many of the suppliers also sell this equipment to medicare or medicaid patients. In doing so, they charge them the maximum allowed for a machine by those programs. Still, the program rules are that if they sell to medicare or medicaid patients at a specific price, then they are not allowed to sell at a lower price to others, else they risk losing their ability to provide to medicare or medicaid patients.
This author has sleep apnea and found a machine from a supplier for a price of $400. But the insurance company would only pay for the prescribed machine if it were delivered through a home health care company. Because the home health care company also provided to medicare and medicaid patients, they could not sell the machine to me or my insurance company at a fair price, they delivered the machine to me, but at a cost to my insurance company of $1200, the same as they charge their medicare or medicaid patients. Thus my insurance company, because of regulations, laws, and government intervention into private healthcare, was forced to pay 200% more for my CPAP machine, than it could have or should have otherwise paid. This is abuse of the system by companies that provide services to medicare and medicaid, it is not high insurance cost, it is not high medical cost, and it is not the fault of anything other than abuse of the system and government intervention into private healthcare. It is waste, it is cheating, and it harms us all in the form of higher medical and insurance costs. The abuse, cheating, and waste is the problem that needs to be addressed, not the insurance or the care.
Next, let’s examine and understand medical insurance in general. Insurance is not meant to pay all medical bills all the time. If we can all agree on this then we can at least begin to understand this portion of the problem. Insurance, sold and used correctly, is for catastrophic illness or medical mishaps, not for every little medical issue that arises. Just like auto insurance is for when you have a car accident, not to pay for your gas, oil changes, brake repair, broken headlight, muffler problems, etc…
So too is health insurance for issues like cancer, heart attacks, strokes, broken bones, sever diseases, emergencies, surgeries, etc… it is in essence the same as auto insurance or home owners insurance. It is meant to be there when you have a major medical issues. It is not meant to cover every office visit, cold, cut, scrape, shot, vaccine, medication, or hangnail you may encounter in life. If you insure everything then you better expect it to cost a lot. So why pay the extra $75 per month in premiums for an extra $1000 in office visit coverage. Why pay the extra $500 per year to reduce the co-pay on perscriptions from $25 down to $10 or $15. Just pay the $75 or $100 office visit charge and just take the prescription discount offered and pay for your own prescriptions at a nice discount (often 50% or more). Chances are you will not be in the doctors office 10 times or more per year anyway and chances are the amount of prescription medication you will need will not make up for the $500 extra you pay for the coverage. If you have issues and are in the doctors office 10 or more times per year or if you have lots of expensive prescriptions, then you likely have other more major issues that your insurance will cover. Just insure the major things, after all, these are what insurance was originally designed for and to protect against.
Finally, we should all understand that healthcare insurance or the care itself is not a right, it is a privilege of those who work hard and acquire health care or healthcare insurance for themselves and their families. Just because you work hard, educate yourself, get a great paying job or run your own business, and you can afford to drive a Corvette, does not mean that someone else should have or be given a corvette by the government or any car for that matter at the expense of another person (ex. the taxpaying public).
The same is true of health care. A corvette is not a right, nowhere in our constitution does it state that we have the right to life liberty and a Corvette. Nor does it state we have the right to life liberty and government provided healthcare or government healthcare insurance. These are privileges we earn through hard work.
We can probably all agree to provide for or help those who cannot care for themselves, for example those who are physically or mentally handicapped or otherwise disabled and who simply cannot provide for themselves, we may even agree as a society to provide for those who defend our freedoms and fight for us in war (ex. Military veterans), or even possibly our senior citizens to a certain extent. Certainly, on a smaller scale states or local communities can decide to implement programs for these individuals or situations, but we do not all agree that healthcare is a right to be afforded to everyone and that should forcibly be funded at the federal level by those who work hard.
In addition we do not all agree that those who work hard or earn more should give to everyone else through a government run and MANDATED programs. This is simply absurd and not what America is all about, nor is it what made America great. In fact it is taking or taxing those who work hard or earn more to provide for others who may not is stealing. It is akin to Robin Hood, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. It’s if justified by creating crises or playing on peoples emotions or pain points.
Frankly, many people do not believe that government involvement in health care would be beneficial for individuals, health care professionals, the relationships between them, or the quality and quantity of timely care that patients would receive. The fact remains, there is absolutely no program that the government is running, or has ever run, that has been on budget, reduces costs, and which impels us to trust the government to run or manage such a huge portion of our economy and private lives as health care.
Many, if not most Americans believe that government has no business in our health care. Many Americans recognize that government intervention will lead to rationing or procedures and care, higher taxes, potentially no cost savings, all the while leading us down a path towards socialism. Without question it will lead to larger and larger government which is exactly what our founding fathers wanted to prevent.
In conclusion, this health care debacle is nothing more than a direct usurpation of freedoms by an ever expanding and growing government. That in itself is dangerous. The elite would love to hand down their seats in the congress to their children and have special privileges, special insurance and medical care, and force “we the people” into dependency on government from cradle to grave, and into government run programs. We urge you, don’t allow it folks. This is exactly what our founding fathers feared with a large and growing government. It is the reason the United States of America fought for its independence to overthrow the oppressive rule of England, the high taxation without representation, and the insane policies of King George at the time of succession.
We are now approaching the same type of situation that we faced when the United States declared its independence from the King of England. The Obama administration and radical leftist politicians are about to really incite the masses here in the United States. Beware! You are about to awaken the sleeping giant in the form of the American people and their values. Freedom is a powerful virtue which people do not take lightly. When usurpation begins to infringe on freedoms and liberties people become active. This is why we are seeing tea parties, marches, and masses beginning to revolt. As soon as the people recognize that some politicians are trying to infringe on their freedoms or take some away from them, they will fight to the death to save it.
Health care reform may lead down a path towards revolution, and not in a good way!