Tuesday, September 4, 2007
"I Told You So..."
Our country is in a health care crisis. No doubt about it. When the cost of health is more than five times the cost of living, something is wrong. Unfortunately, both Democratic and Republican socialists think that the problem can be solved by Big Government.
As I have stated in earlier commentaries, I think government financing of health care is not one of the cures, but rather, one of the causes of the health care crisis. There is nothing more inefficient, wasteful, and outright corrupt, than government funding of anything. Medicare is one of those disasters right now.
However, I am seeing something happen that I warned about years ago. When Ted Kennedy first proposed subsidized national health care, I told those in the debate that state-supported health insurance would show some of the same tendencies of state-supported education. When something becomes state-supported, something else becomes compulsory. When the state or the federal government funds education, everybody has to go to school -- to their schools -- or be approved by them to go to another.
I told people twenty years ago that if we got national health care, we would be forced to go to the doctor. We would be forced to receive health care that Big Government deemed necessary. Everybody laughed at me. Now, however, we find that John Edwards is proposing just such an idea.
"It requires that everybody be covered. It requires that everybody get preventive care," he told a crowd sitting in lawn chairs in front of the Cedar County Courthouse. "If you are going to be in the system, you can't choose not to go to the doctor for 20 years. You have to go in and be checked and make sure that you are OK." He goes on to say that the government will enforce mammograms, as well as other routine inspections. It's just like I said it would be. But everybody else laughed. It's time to quit laughing. It might be silly not to go to the doctor for a yearly checkup, but it's certainly not the government's business to make sure we do, any more than being their business to see if we've changed the oil in our car or cleaned out the cat's litter box.
Another reason to quit laughing is because that's not all that I predicted. What if the federal government decides you're incapable of raising more than three children, and you're pregnant? After all, they handle your medical expenses, so what say would you really have in whether or not to get an abortion? What about that hopelessly ill grandmother who's just drawing medicare funds but will never get better? Big Government knows best, and they may decide they know better than you do when to pull the plug. How about sterilization? Then again, there are other medical procedures that would make you a better person, and your friendly local government will know what's best for you.
You think I'm being extreme in this? People did 20 years ago, but if John Edwards gets his way, we will be forced to go to the doctor. Who's going to pay for this? The "government," of course. What does the "government" mean? For some reason, liberals think of it as some vast resource of unlimited money that miraculously replenishes itself, much like the meat does in the grocery store cooler, or the water does in the tap over the sink, or the milk does in those little cartons next to the coffee creamer at Wal-mart.
As someone who has lived in other countries that have nationalized health care, I want to warn you that it doesn't work. It's like the rest of socialism: It works on paper, and really looks great. Then, you try it with actual people, and it completely disintegrates.
We need to do something about the health care situation in the US, but it needs to start somewhere else. Melody Hobson, on ABC's "Good Morning America," recently reported that over 80% of all medical bills are incorrect. If hospitals were anything but hospitals, federal regulators would have closed them down. First, we need to crack down on inefficient, inaccurate -- and even intentionally corrupt -- hospital billing. Then, we need to do something about 5 dollar Tylenol tablets and 5000 dollar a night hospital rooms. Afterward, we could go after private insurance, but we might not have as much to do; if they weren't getting scammed by medical entities, they might not try to pass as much on to policy holders. Is it too much to think that a time could come again when a day's treatment at a hospital would not cost a year's salary?
If we switch to a federally funded insurance, we will go in the opposite direction. Tylenol will be 50 dollars a tablet, and a hospital room for the night will be 25 thousand dollars, and that's just the start. And who will pay for it? Why, all you filthy rich people, that's who. Edwards has a tax plan just for you.
By the way, in the liberal world, "rich" describes anyone who earns money and can pay his own bills. Their goal is that no one do that, except, of course, John Edwards, Ted Kennedy, and those select few who really know how your money should be spent.