Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Serious About The Rising Cost Of Healthcare? Really?

As the Supreme court debates the constitutionality of forcing Americans to buy a product from a private company and forcing companies to sell to anyone whom applies, a great many arguments have been advanced for universal, government mandated healthcare.

The most frequent one, cited by the Obama Administration's solicitor general and a great many talking heads on the Left involves the idea that the key to controlling rising costs involves forcing people into the insurance market, because those 'free riders', mostly identified as 'young people' who don't buy insurance and force the cost up for everyone.

To help you cut through the verbiage and the nonsense, here's a simple test; if the person you're listening to doesn't include these four words as the main source of the problem of rising health care costs,you're listening to dishonest drivel.

The four words? Illegal aliens. Tort reform.

Let's examine what happens when a construction worker or busboy whose immigration status is,shall we say,not legal or a member of his family gets injured. And injured can mean anything from a broken arm to a case of the flu.

Assuming they haven't managed to get on the MedicAid rolls,they simply go to the nearest emergency room for treatment.

They get treated, because the hospitals are legally mandated not to turn them away (nor should they, out of common humanity). There's a brief conversation with the hospital admin staff about payment, a few smiles and shrugs and the hospital eats the cost. Which gets passed on to the rest of us as higher taxes and higher premiums, as hospitals attempt to balance the budget and raise costs to try and break even.

In my home city, ER rooms are closing and one facility that had been serving the urban community for years actually closed down because this scenario had become so common they simply couldn't afford to run anymore.

The Obama Administration isn't going to be honest with you about that, for political reasons, and would rather refer to a vague 'estimated 40 million Americans without health care', up sharply from an 'estimated 30 million' less than a year ago. But until the problem of illegal migration gets solved, even universal healthcare for every American citizen isn't going to lower costs.

Of course, we could ensure all non-citizens,legal or not. But that's simply another way to go broke as people flock across the border for this latest freebie.You see,there's an unlimited demand for free stuff.

Then,we have the other two words 'tort reform'.

The thing health professionals fear more than a stage five outbreak of a communicable disease is predatory lawyers.

We're not talking here about legitimate cases of blatant misdiagnosis or error, things like a surgeon leaving a sponge inside a patient after an operation or a doctor amputating the wrong body part. We're talking about lawyers ginning up things like large class action suits ( a John Edwards specialty)on the most spurious of causes, actively soliciting people mildly hurt in accidents or worker's comp cases to go to a doctor in cahoots with the lawyer to get unneeded treatment to 'build up the medical' for a settlement, and actively seeking out people who had no intention of engaging in legalities to encourage them to start tort suits on contingency against medical professionals, promising them a gold mine at the end of the trail.

How do these activities impact what you pay for healthcare? In many ways. The financial success of these legal tactics has meany a huge payday for lawyers at the expense of insurance companies. Like any other business,they pass on the cost to their customers.The premiums for health insurance increase, as do the premiums for malpractice insurance for medical professionals. In an effort to try and keep their costs down and avoid court,hospitals and medical professionals frequently perform tests and procedures that are largely unnecessary just on the off chance that some legal shark might use it as a loophole.It all costs money,which eventually winds up hitting the ultimate consumer, you, in the wallet.

Right now, the entire field of tort lawsuits is like a goldrush for anyone with a law degree. Unless limits are put on when tort suits can be filed and for what and unless the abuses are curbed, health care costs are going to continue to rise.With the added problem that as costs for tuition and things like malpractice insurance skyrocket,less and less people are going to find the healthcare professions attractive.

President Obama has never once let the words 'tort reform' cross his lips, and neith have the Democrat leaders who shoved ObamaCare through. It's a safe bet that the trial lawyer's associations are among the biggest Democrat donors have a great deal to do about that.

One final point...a great deal is made over people with pre-existing conditions who can't get healthcare insurance,and that's also been given as a reason to tear apart what is by and large a successful system.

Let's look at how that particular problem gets solved in a slightly different context.

In my home state, insurance or a cash bond posted with the state Department of Motor Vehicles is necessary if you wish to drive a vehicle.

Some people, because of their driving records, a pre-existing condition, are not desirable customers for insurance companies, who would just as soon turn them down and let them be some other company's problem.Recognizing this,and recognizing that these people still needed to be insured in order to comply with the law, what the state insurance commission did was to set up an assigned risk pool of these drivers require that insurance be written, and deal them out to the various companies. The end result is that anyone who drives who wants to be insured ends up being able to be insured.

As a final note, two strategies that have been mentioned that would cut the cost of healthcare significant are cracking down on medicare fraud and opening up the insurance market to interstate competition.

ObamaCare was never really a healthcare bill. It was always about increasing taxes and government control of one sixth of the economy.

You now have some idea of what a serious proposal to get the cost of healthcare under control ought to deal with. Anything else is sheer bolshoi, especially when it's hidden in a 2000 plus page piece of legislation no Democrat in Congress bothered to read before they voted it in.


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