Saturday, December 1, 2012

American Healthcare's Great and Powerful Oz

Medicare For All is the Best Alternative, a column about the House bill H.R. 676 by Ray Stever, President of  New Jersey One Plan One Nation Coalition, was the subject of my 10/30/12 TOS Blog post The Left's False Alternative on Health Care. I had more to say on Stever's piece which I'd like to share.

Stever claimed that "ObamaCare isn't a government takeover of health care."

But Stever evades the fact that ObamaCare gives the government virtually complete control of the health insurance industry, as I noted in my TOS Blog post. In this way, like under fascism, ObamaCare is "a government takeover of health care." One only need remember the ongoing birth control controversy. Like the Great and Powerful Oz, quasi-private insurance companies will be the face of ObamaCare that the public sees, with the government bureaucrats who operate the levers of control hidden behind an administrative curtain. 

I left the following comments, under my screen name "Zemack":

I almost choked when I read that "Medicare for all [H.R. 676] would put doctors and patients in control of health care decisions." As logic, experience, and theory makes plain to any rational person, whoever pays the bill, sets the terms. The doctors will be enslaved to the government bureaucracy, as bureaucrats dictate who can receive what healthcare, when, and at what price. Unlike private insurance, which must legally adhere to the terms of the contract voluntarily agreed to by the customer, government bureaucrats will have unlimited, arbitrary power over all healthcare choices. The Hippocratic Oath will be trampled, as patients are shuffled along an assembly line, facing doctors torn between their own judgement on how to best fulfill the needs of their patients and politically correct bureaucratic dictates and statistical "guidelines."

As to the alleged "efficiencies" of government-run healthcare, no one can take this article seriously. Federal Medicare is crushed under monumental unfunded liabilities that threaten to bankrupt America. Around the world, welfare states are in crisis, slowly collapsing under their own weight. The evidence is all around us. Any system that makes everybody responsible for everyone else's healthcare, but not his own--via government--leads to exploding costs and massive fraud and waste. Medicare and Medicaid, mandates on private insurers and providers, and other government intrusions into healthcare are what brought us today's "inefficient" healthcare.

Yes, dictatorships can be very "efficient." "Efficiencies" paid for at the expense of freedom and individual rights is a deal with the devil. Government has had its chance at running American healthcare, and it has failed. Doubling down on government control is not the answer. There is no free lunch.

The only moral and practical alternative to both single-payer tyranny and today's government-contrived quasi-private health insurance, third-party-payer system is free market healthcare--the free meaning the absence government coercion. Only then would doctors and other providers, patients, and insurers be free to act upon their own judgement, and contract voluntarily to mutual advantage. Every individual is morally responsible for his own healthcare, and only when individuals become responsible for paying for their own healthcare needs--whether out-of-pocket or through pre-arranged payment plans like patient-owned insurance policies--will doctors and patients be back in charge of their own health care decisions.

posted about H.R. 676 back on August 12, 2008, with a followup post prompted by a Texas congressman's comments. Of course, that was before the 2008 presidential election. With the victory of Barack Obama, H.R. 676 disappeared from the public consciousness, overshadowed by the debate and passage of ObamaCare. But H.R. 676 is still kicking around below the surface.

As the inevitable catastrophes wrought by ObamaCare become clear, the Left will be ready. They will point to Oz as the culprit, blaming greedy, profit-seeking "private" insurance companies and the "free" market. With the insurance companies and the "free market" held up as culprits, the Left will be ready to trot out H.R. 676 or some single-payer equivalent as the solution, and make the government takeover of all healthcare overt and complete

Will the Right be ready to pull back the curtain and expose the real villains? Will the Right be ready to present America with the only alternative to single-payer healthcare, a country without Medicare and Medicaid, EMTALA, the FDA, insurance mandates, and all the rest? Will it be ready to embrace a fully free market in healthcare? 

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