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Improving Health Care ^ | June 13, 2012 | John Stossel

Posted on 06/13/2012 4:15:03 AM PDT by Kaslin

Any day now, the U.S. Supreme will rule on whether the Obamacare insurance mandate is constitutional. Seems like a no-brainer to me. How can forcing me to engage in commerce be constitutional?

But there's a deeper question: Why should government be involved in medicine at all?

Right before President Obama took office, the media got hysterical about health care. You heard the claims: America spends more than any country -- $6,000 per person -- yet we get less. Americans die younger than people in Japan and Western Europe. Millions of Americans lack health insurance and worry about paying for care.

I have the solution! said Obama. Bigger government will give us more choices and make health care cheaper and better. He proceeded to give us that. Bigger government, that is. The cheaper/better/more choices part -- not so much.

Costs have risen. More choices? No, we have fewer choices. Many people lost coverage when companies left the market.

Because ObamaCare requires insurance companies to cover every child regardless of pre-existing conditions, WellPoint, Humana and Cigna got out of the child-only business. Principal Financial stopped offering health insurance altogether -- 1 million customers no longer have the choice to keep their insurance.

This is to be expected when governments control health care. Since state funding makes medical services seem free, demand increases. Governments deal with that by rationing. Advocates of government health care hate the word "rationing" because it forces them to face an ugly truth: Once you accept the idea that taxpayers pay, individual choice dies. Someone else decides what treatment you get, and when.

At least in America, we still have some choice. We can pay to get what we want. Under government health care, bureaucrats will decide how long we wait for our knee operation or cataract surgery ... or if we get lifesaving treatment at all.

When someone else pays for your health care, that someone else also decides when to pull the plug. The reason can be found in Econ 101. Medical care doesn't grow on trees. It must be produced by human and physical capital, and those resources are limited. Politicians can't repeal supply and demand.

Call them "death panels" or not, a government that needs to cut costs will limit what it spends on health care, especially on people nearing the end of life. Medical "ethicists" have long lamented that too much money is spent in the last several months of life. Given the premise that it's government's job to pay, it's only natural that some bureaucrat will decide that 80-year-olds shouldn't get hip replacements.

True, surveys show that most Brits and Canadians like their free health care. But Dr. David Gratzer notes that most people surveyed aren't sick. Gratzer is a Canadian who also liked Canada's government health care -- until he started treating patients.

More than a million Canadians say they can't find a family doctor. Some towns hold lotteries to determine who gets to see one. In Norwood, Ontario, my TV producer watched as the town clerk pulled four names out of a big box and then telephoned the lucky winners. "Congratulations! You get to see a doctor this month."

Think the wait in an American emergency room is bad? In Canada, the average wait is 23 hours. Sometimes they can't even get heart attack victims into the ICU.

That's where we're headed unless Obamacare is repealed. But that's not nearly enough. Contrary to what some Republicans say, we didn't have a free medical market before Obama came to power. We had a system that limited competition through occupational licensing, FDA rules and other government intrusions, while stimulating demand through tax-favored employer-based "insurance," Medicare and Medicaid.

If we want affordable and cutting-edge health care, there's only one approach that will work: open competition. That means eliminating both bureaucratic obstacles and corporate privileges. Only free markets can give us innovation at the lowest possible cost.

Of course, that also means consumers should spend their own money on health care, limiting insurance to catastrophic expenses. Americans don't want to hear it. But that's the truth.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial

1 posted on 06/13/2012 4:15:08 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Out of the twenty-five things you could have done to cut costs....the only thing in the 2700-odd pages that hinted of that...was that everyone would be forced into the market, one way or another. Otherwise, there’s nothing to really cut costs.

The comical side of this....just by taking on the medical court cases, and limiting what a lawyer can would have cut medical costs by at least ten percent (most experts say more, but I’m Conservative on this). No one really cared about cutting costs....which is why this is an issue in the first place.

2 posted on 06/13/2012 4:19:54 AM PDT by pepsionice
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To: pepsionice

But the Dems wouldn’t consider tort reform. They would lose the sleazy attorney vote. And it votes en masse for Dems. Americans have NO IDEA how much ‘free’ health care they won’t be getting if that whole law isn’t struck down.

3 posted on 06/13/2012 5:21:50 AM PDT by originalbuckeye
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To: Kaslin

I like Stossel’s point about most people don’t have serious health issues at a given time. If you’re young and healthy, a free checkup with a thumbs up at the end is about all the health care you need. Individuals who need more serious care could probably paint a much clearer picture of the quality of nationalized health care.

Of course, all of these discussions over the cost and quality of care are largely irrelevant in a free country. Within reason, a person isn’t free if they don’t have the liberty to make decisions, especially bad ones, for themselves.

Maybe private health care is more expensive and less efficient. So what? It’s my life and my right to make my own health care decisions, and if I end up paying more for poorer quality care, that’s no one’s business but my own. Short of a constitutional amendment, no one has the legal or moral right to take my health care decisions from me.

4 posted on 06/13/2012 5:30:44 AM PDT by CitizenUSA (Why celebrate evil? Evil is easy. Good is the goal worth striving for.)
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To: Kaslin

I remember when a Doctor office visit was $ 30.00. Then came medicare and they offered a doctor $ 65.00 per visit. Overnight govenment double the cost to see a doctor.
Doctors all raised the visit to the price the government would pay. Healthcare for me and my wife is over $1,300.00 per month for a lousy co pay plan.

5 posted on 06/13/2012 5:42:14 AM PDT by IC Ken
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To: IC Ken

“Then came medicare and they offered a doctor $ 65.00 per visit....”

30.00 of that is to feed the CMS/Medicare Monster....

6 posted on 06/13/2012 5:44:10 AM PDT by mo (If you understand, no explanation is needed. If you don't understand, no explanation is possible.)
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To: Kaslin


My mom tells me about the days when the doctor would come to your home to treat you. And it was $10.

You didn’t go to the hospital unless you were ~really~ sick.

7 posted on 06/13/2012 5:58:10 AM PDT by RMDupree (I'm not really here.)
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To: Kaslin
For those who don't understand the gravity of the U.S. economic's straight mathematics.

Even if we were to ELIMINATE ALL OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT and its departments, agencies and services, the current tax revenues wouldn't be enough to cover commitments.... we would still have to borrow billions of dollars per year (adding to the debt) in order to meet all social benefit and entitlement costs.

Do you understand?

There is only ONE WAY to guarantee ourselves proper healthcare in the very near our a$$es off and pay for it ourselves. If you don't think this is coming, you're asleep at the wheel.

8 posted on 06/13/2012 6:14:55 AM PDT by Scooter100 ("Now that the fog has lifted, I still can't find my pipe". --- S. Holmes)
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To: Kaslin
My 84 year old Mother died in a Canadian hospital.

She was warehoused in a small town 1950’s era hospital waiting transportation to a larger city for testing (mri, c-scan) that was not available in her antiquated little hospital.

5 days into the waiting game she died of...”natural causes.”

She always had plenty of pills and access to her primary care doctor. Just seems like when things got serious there was no sense of urgency.

9 posted on 06/13/2012 6:17:53 AM PDT by Awgie (truth is always stranger than fiction)
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