Friday, August 07, 2009

I Usually Keep Out of This On the Blog....

I’m going against one of my self-imposed blogging rules about staying mostly away from politics, but I’ve been stewing on this all day (well, longer than all day, but today in a fairly concentrated way), and I think I just need to post this. I do not like to argue politics with people. There are others out there who are much better at the art of debate than I am, but I do have opinions and reasons for those opinions. So, here goes. I hope I’m not sorry I did this.

Why some of us do not trust the Obama healthcare plan:

Some questions
A summary
An observation (could also be observed: Wake-Up Call – Hello? The message from 2008 wasn’t what you thought it was, and there were lots of us who could have told you so.)

It has nothing to do with selfishness, or not caring about our neighbors, or right-wing extremism, or whatever else people want to accuse us of.

It has everything to do with not trusting government officials with our private healthcare decisions and not trusting how much control this particular plan would give them. It also has to do with the fact that not enough time has been given to study the various bills out there and think through the implications of the finer print. It has a whole lot to do with not trusting government officials and pencil pushers at government agencies to look out for our interests. For me, it has a whole lot to do with what I see as a culture that is not all that friendly to the unborn and the elderly and infirm. Why would I want government officials who hold a vastly different worldview on those issues than I do have as much control over those issues as a nationalized healthcare system would give them?

It has everything to do with the fact that socialized medicine is not efficient anywhere it is being practiced.

It has everything to do with the fine print, not the propaganda that’s being fed us like pabulum. In an ideal world, it would be wonderful if everyone had free, quality healthcare. We don’t live in that world. We may, and I would even argue we do, need some reforms, but think it through carefully! There are other reforms we could investigate rather than nationalizing/socializing the whole thing. For one thing, we ought to look into why healthcare is so expensive in the first place. It might surprise us….out-of-control lawsuits leading to malpractice insurance being pretty much a necessity for providers today – who have to pass on their costs somewhere, reimbursement from the current government healthcare plans (Medicare!) coming in at prices lower than the cost to provide the quality care demanded meaning that those costs get passed on to others in order for doctors just to make the ends meet, which means higher costs to the private insurers who then pass on costs to consumers in a never-ending cycle, and the highest costs going to those who do not have health insurance because of the discounted rates everyone else pays. And another thing, my husband, who has worked in the healthcare industry in a hospital setting for years told me that emergency rooms cannot turn people away for lack of ability to pay. That’s another area where costs get passed on to others, elevating the overall costs. We ARE a generous country.

I think we’re going about the task of reforming in the wrong way. It is true that if you can’t afford private health insurance, you probably won’t get the quality care that others get. Rather than taking a system that works for some, but maybe not all and totally overhauling it to something that will be loaded, LOADED, with government bureaucracy and invasion of personal privacy (look into it, it’s loaded with intrusions), let’s look at how to make care more affordable for all, that kind of reform is needed, I agree. But if you think nationalizing it, putting the government in charge of it, will fix it, I seriously fear you are wrong.

The thing is, I’ve heard that there are between 40-50 million Americans who do not have health insurance. Of those, about 40% are without health insurance by choice – either they have chosen not to be insured at all because they can afford to pay out of pocket, they may be college students who have chosen not to buy the policies through their school, or people who have chosen not to buy supplemental/temporary insurance in order to spend their money elsewhere. The people we need to be looking at assisting are those 60% of the uninsured who do not want to be without insurance but cannot afford to buy it and do not qualify for Medicaid. Rather than overhauling EVERYONE’S heath care and mandating governmental oversight for EVERYONE, why not focus on the small percentage of Americans who truly do need help, the ones who fall through the cracks?

And when you get officials at government agencies determining what behaviors are “healthy lifestyle” behaviors for everyone, you are opening yourself up for scary, unintended possibilities. What’s to stop them from determining that having more than one child is unhealthy behavior? Think that’s far-fetched? Look at China’s government policies. It wouldn’t take much. What’s to stop them from deciding to withhold care from someone who is elderly and whose medical needs are deemed too expensive to continue, since they don’t have all that long to live anyway? Even if the current legislators/officials don’t think these things, once we’ve handed this much power to the government, what’s to stop future administrations/officials/legislators from making these kinds of determinations or worse and imposing them on us through a national health plan where we have no opportunity for appeal? Nothing. Nothing is to stop them. That’s why I don’t trust government officials to make these decisions, and why I am wary of putting this much in their hands in the first place.

Rather than increasing quality, it will lower it for all. Turning the healthcare over to government agencies is just not a wise way to go.

At the very least we need to not hurry legislation through that none of the legislators have had time to read, examine and discuss with constituents. Listen to the people on this, take time to determine the best road, don’t force something through with this many huge consequences for so many people without carefully weighing other, more balanced approaches. Why does it all have to be in the hands of government? Why not look at reforms that would allow private insurers to compete in a way that benefits them and consumers? There have got to be other alternatives than a national health plan.

Our objections are not just over having to pay higher taxes. They are over the details in this thing.


Anonymous said...

Well said.

Carla said...

Just wanted you to know I do still read your very controversial blog.

Kay said...

Yes..very well said!