Letters 4 – 19 – 2011

Re: Single Payer  

I read recently that VT is considered the place where libs are “making a stand’ to enact health care and then force it on the rest of the country, though I presume that is not news to you.

What is so damning about this issue is the need to convey single-payer’s perils in a way that the public at large can easily grasp. I think y’all are doing a good job of it.

I wish others would “get” that, if health care is a “right”, then we will inevitably assume government to be our womb-to tomb protector. Umm, well, maybe not “womb”… and will, in the future, certainly have to ‘facilitate’ trips to the tomb.

However, Imagine a country where doctors and hospitals were not required to provide service beyond the Hippocratic Oath. (“First, do no harm.”) Imagine that, if you had no insurance, emergency rooms were free to exercise their own option to not treat a cold, etc.

Imagine further, that hospitals were (as grocery stores, restaurants and indeed, all businesses do) required to post their charges up front. This can be a simple matter today via the ‘net , and there’s hardly a reason not to, especially in regard to elective procedures (like an EKG, colonoscopy, etc). The problem is, there’s already a cozy relationship between hospitals and government.

Current hospitals have government restrict their competition by having gov’t require a “certificate of need” to operate, such as entrepreneurial medical doctors buying their own cat-scnners, etc. who offer perform cat scans at 30% less than a local hospital might charge (Years ago, I came across a study on this.).

(side thought: Why not phone several VT hospitals to ask what they charge for some elective procedures. See how difficult it is to get the numbers…. yet, they do have billing procedures that input the charges, so they are available within their system.)

Call this “heartless”, but it exposes the root of the problem and challenges an assumption that has risen over time.

1) The assumption that businesses “should” provide heath insurance for its employees. (actually, businesses started providing it as a non-taxable benefit during a period of short supply and big demand in order to attract capable people to come to work for them. In time, most business came to offer it, and insurance companies could see the increased profit potential in reduced costs by selling one large policy rather than having to attempt to sell several individual ones.

So this business incentive of offering insurance has, over time, become an expected, ‘taken for granted’ cost of doing business for every large amd most mid-sized company, even though labor supply and demand issues have diminished.

But the mind-set has inexorably led to a, “my health-care is not my responsibility” mentality.  … Not coincidentally, this mind-set facilitates the societal movement to a Socialist state… one we can see coming.

The root problem, now, is that few see the need to accept responsibility for their own health-care.  Certainly not the young, for they rationally can play the odds, and skip insurance until they see they’ll need it.

Obama it seems to me, is attempting to capture those future users of the system NOW, to cover the inevitable costs the will generate LATER. (though this is a rational approach, it also comports with his view of a socialist state. But from our perspective, the underlying assumption is whacked.)

Ron Court


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Note: Rob Roper is on vacation this week. Please send your letters and comments to Robert Maynard at robmayn@myfairpoint.net.