In a straight party-line vote, Democrats in the U.S. Senate today passed a health care system reform bill through their side of Congress, despite the fact that a sizable majority of voters oppose the measure. While it’s possible that the bill, which is over 2000 pages long at this point, may come apart in negotiations with the House, it’s more likely that this conglomeration of ill-thought, large parts of which are still unread by senators who voted for it, will become law.
This is a historic wrong on so many levels it’s nearly impossible to confront the flaws in this mess with a unified argument. To tackle them all would necessitate a book nearly the size of the bill itself, a daunting task and one certain to be without payback. The Democrats will ram this thing down the throats of real Americans – those who work and pay taxes and provide for their own medical care – regardless of what anyone who opposes them says or does.
According to Dianne Feinstein, a liberal Democrat from California, the industry “lacks a moral compass.” I’m sure that’s true, for the idea is in itself an oxymoron. Business does not exist for the purpose of exerting moral authority any more than governments do. Instead companies come into being for the sole purpose of providing goods and services for a price greater than what it costs to produce and provide them. Morality is not part of the equation on a systemic level, although individual actors within companies and industries of course guide their paths of development.
In the medical field it’s obvious to any casual observer that the primary actors in the system are doctors. The medical industry was created by men and women who provided health care services in exchange for payment. Undoubtedly some were moved by love of their fellow man; however, most were motivated to the field by a combination of aptitude and the desire to avoid the manual labor performed by their peers. In other words, doctors use their minds and skills to make a better life for themselves, their actions being the essence of the American Dream as it was defined by our Founding Fathers.
Remove doctors from the medical field and what are you left with? An empty shell, bereft of value to those who need its services. Democrats’ motives are in some respects admirable, but their thought process is lacking. Remove the advantages bestowed on members of the medical profession and you remove the motivation for the best and brightest among us to make the sacrifices needed to enter this important field.
Yes, others will certainly take their place in medical school and in practice, but the inevitable result will be a decline in the quality of care provided as a result of this mind shift. Yet the Democrats’ bill is focused, as it necessarily must be, on reducing costs and increasing systematic compliance, both of which have negative impacts on doctors and will inexorably lead, over time, to a brain drain in the medical field, a fact that Democrats doggedly ignore.
Liberals prefer instead to trumpet the need to provide medical insurance to people who cannot pay for it themselves, a goal that has some merit to it. What they conveniently ignore is history. Skyrocketing medical costs are a reality that effectively denies 5-10% of Americans access to medical services. But liberals fail to consider the key part in which their own past policies in creating this new, unfortunate situation.
Medicare, for instance, exists solely to shift the costs of late-in-life care away from those 60+ to current workers and their families. Providing medical care to the elderly is a noble goal; however, accomplishing it requires a massive transfer of wealth in order to reach it. Moreover, the inefficiency inherent in such government programs makes draconian cost-reduction measures a necessity on the provider side of the equation.
As is well-known, medical providers receive only 75-80% of the revenue from Medicare patients as they do from others. This has two effects: First, costs are increased for non-Medicare patients. This warps the health care market out of shape, the effect of which is effectively a hidden tax on working families; Second, some medical providers refuse to provide services to Medicare patients, thus reducing both convenience and quality of care to those the plan aims to help.
A second, more subtle problem with the Medicare entitlement is the mental attitudes that it fosters among both patients and physicians, namely that unlimited medical care is an essential right of every American and that equal outcomes, medically speaking, are both deserved and desirable for all Americans.
That neither is true has not stopped the creeping advance of the misguided notion that every conceivable medical treatment should be available to every American throughout every day of our lives, regardless of the cost and who must pay to provide marginally inefficient care. To put it simply, medical costs have increased in large part because Americans have come to believe the lie that they are entitled to use medical resources as if they had no cost, much like the air we breathe.
Now Democrats in Congress are on the verge of taking this fundamental wrong and increasing its scope to the breadth and width of the American populace. In fact, it may already be too late to stop this from happening – the wheels have been greased in part thanks to the hundreds of millions of dollars in “political bribes” paid to Senators Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.
All that stands in the path of their success and the decline of our system of medicine is the willingness of House Democrats to compromise away their support for government funded abortion. This will happen, despite the inevitable whining from the fringe left who will have to wait a few more years to sneak their abortion agenda into the national plan.
Yet perhaps if Americans who oppose this plan’s enactment take time over the holidays to remind their congressmen of their wishes all will not be lost.
The vast majority of Americans have access to the finest health care that has ever been available. We demand that the profit motive that lies behind this system, the motive that is the sole reason for that system to exist, be respected. We demand that doctors be left free and unfettered to research and to provide care as they see fit. We demand that we be allowed to seek medical care according to our own desires to receive it and our ability to pay for it. We demand, in short, for government to restrict itself to its proper functions, none of which have anything to do with medicine.