Thursday, October 31, 2013

Healthcare is NOT a Right…

Rights are inherent and are common to all human beings. There are only God given rights, rights cannot be granted by government, but they can be taken away. When people talk about healthcare being a “right” the first question we must ask is: if healthcare is a right, then the people providing healthcare are slaves. Otherwise, it can’t be a right. If a doctor or nurse is needed to provide healthcare then they can’t be forced to provide the service of healthcare.

People use the term “rights” in a way that riles up crowds of malcontents who have been persuaded they deserve something for nothing. You could call that leftism, modern liberalism, communism, or socialism, you choose. The reality is we only have a few true rights as human beings. I believe those to be, freedom to move, freedom to believe or not, freedom to speak, right to our labor, right to private property, right to privacy, right to be left alone, and the right to contract with others. Every one of those rights has one thing in common; they don’t rely on anyone else or expect something from anyone else.

Words mean things. When we use terms in society and politics it is important to use the proper terms. It is why the US Constitution was so brilliant. Just because healthcare is not a right, doesn’t mean it isn’t important. It doesn’t mean as a society we shouldn’t develop policies that help everyone to have access to good healthcare. We should use the same principles in healthcare as we do in other markets like the food industry where the growth and distribution have been able to feed the entire world. You can argue that food is just as important as healthcare. So why do we treat the distribution differently from the government perspective?

The federal government is not allowed to constitutionally do what it is doing in healthcare but it is because too many people are constitutionally illiterate, and we have a Supreme Court that has shunned its responsibility to protect it. We would be better off if we cut the funding for the federal government in half by going to a flat tax and eliminating the IRS, the Department of Education, Commerce, Energy, and Housing. That would leave plenty of money to provide for the poor and truly needy. At the state level we could decide what else we are willing to pay for as citizens. This way if we don’t like the policies we can move to another state.

The way things are we have no place to go. The freedom to move is a right that is no longer relevant when the federal government controls things they shouldn’t, like healthcare. Healthcare is not a right but it is too important to leave to an incompetent federal government…  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dear Politicians: Its Health Care Not Health Insurance, Stupid!

Can we reset this entire healthcare argument to focus on the real issue here? The issue is healthcare not health insurance! This is driving me nuts. We don’t go to the insurance company to diagnose our runny nose do we? We don’t ask some insurance bureaucrat to reset our lower back due to a tweak we have after lifting a box the wrong way, do we? We don’t go to the insurance office to get a prenatal exam during pregnancy, do we? NO we go to the doctor’s office.

We have been so programmed to deal with insurance companies for healthcare issues that we can’t see the forest through the trees. We should be dealing directly with our doctor to set up our appointments and make payments according to the services provided. Instead we are calling insurance companies to discuss co-pays and coverage of basic services that actually are already affordable.

Now we are on the cusp of adding government bureaucrats into the mix of insurance bureaucrats to get in the way of the relationship between us and our doctor. What are we nuts! The answer is not to empower more useless paper pushing or key banging office people to manage such a simple transaction. Just as you go to the mechanic to fix your car and then you pay the bill, you should be going to the doctor, receive your care, and pay your bill.

The biggest issue that drives the “need” for insurance is the fear of taking ill and needing critical or chronic long term care. The fear of bankruptcy is the biggest driver of insurance. Just like we fear fire and flood destroying our housing investment, in healthcare we fear a heart attack, a cancer diagnosis, or some other illness because if we don’t have insurance it can bankrupt us! What if the issue of going bankrupt from a healthcare issue could be solved? How would that change the complexion of healthcare?

From the service provider side, doctors, nurses, and hospitals fear being sued for mal-practice. They have to carry mal-practice insurance which increases costs and does little for the betterment of healthcare. Actually it has created a “lottery” mentality where any “mistake” is treated as a ticket to Easyville! No doubt there are circumstances where doctors or hospitals are negligent, but lawyers have made an industry of suing doctors for every issue just to get in front of an ignorant jury that award large paydays. Most of the time these frivolous lawsuits are settled to reduce the time and effort it takes to fight the lawsuits. The way to fix it is to have jurists that understand medicine instead of the normal jury process. A “jury of your peers” in healthcare are people that understand healthcare, and I’m not suggesting this to put the fix in for doctors, but to put people on the jury that understand the complex arguments that we just are not educated to understand. It also would reduce the emotional component of “regular” jurists that end up awarding ridiculous amounts for things that are not malpractice. As healthcare professionals know, there is inherent risk in certain procedures. If we don’t address this doctors will stop doing surgeries that have any risk and who benefits from that? What if mal-practice lawsuits were changed? How would that change the complexion of healthcare?

Eliminating insurance from preventative care, removing the fear of bankruptcy due to an illness, and mal-practice reform would be three steps that would change the face of healthcare for the better. If we did those three simple things to start we could then look at the market and see what other issues we could improve through free market principles.

The debate about healthcare should not be dominated by insurance but rather the improved delivery and management of healthcare. Oh and the biggest change of all: get politicians out of our doctor’s office!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Leaders Never Follow Polls…

If there were polls in the days of our founding we would have never had the blessings of liberty we take for granted today. Mike Huckabee on his radio show last night criticized the Tea Party Republicans because there was no way to “win” the defund Obamacare movement, so it was foolish to stand up against the law. He and many other conservative talk hosts have been crowing about the polls. The polls are not in support of shutting down the government to stop Obamacare, and the shutdown will hurt future elections! Polls are just snapshots of opinions at that time. They do not reflect changing circumstances because everything is fluid. And leaders change circumstances.

Thank God our founders were leaders and not the sheep we see today. Most people don’t realize that the movement for our independence back in 1775 and 1776 was a minority movement. Most colonists were either supportive of the King, looking for a resolution that would keep the colonies part of Britain, and just a few visionaries could see the centralized authority of a King was an abuse of natural law. If a poll were taken at the time of our founders declaring independence - it would be at best 30% support. That means 70% of the country was eventually led to victory.

All throughout the revolutionary war, George Washington was outnumbered, fighting for support and supplies, and in many instances, at the breaking point of defeat. If the talk show hosts were around then, they would have been treating George Washington the same way they are treating Senators Cruz, Lee, and Paul. They would be spreading the criticism that we should wait until we can win. George should surrender since there was no way to win. They would be suggesting we must wait until we can convince enough people that the revolution is a good idea. “Just look at all the cannons and bullets they have” and we “have no hope!” These people are a bunch of comfortable talking heads that don’t understand that this country is in real trouble.

A true leader takes the risk of taking the first step in the battle. This is a battle that CAN be won. Any leader knows if they can get the truth in front of the people, the polls will follow. So will the talk show hosts.

We are spiraling into debt, we have a President that is incompetent at best, and we have democrats in the senate that are left wing radicals and must be repelled and defeated. We have middle of the road republicans that are the new Gentry class and are too comfortable in being useless at governing but too incompetent to make it in the private sector.

Our founders were brilliant leaders, strategic geniuses, but most importantly they were men of character. They were willing to risk everything that was precious to them for the sacrifice of a better future for their posterity. Our “leaders’ today borrow like thieves in the night from our future generations. It is time for every patriotic American to lead; the polls will follow...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Disaster So Easy to See

“If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it’s free!” Ronald Reagan. In all his wisdom, Ronald Reagan would never suggest he was a man of exceptional intellect. He just used common sense. Albert Einstein never considered himself a genius; he simply was determined to use his God given gifts of intelligent exploration. We are all geniuses in our own right, but why are so many people blinded to the impending disaster of Obamacare?

Is it simply that people don’t want to believe their government could be so incompetent? Do they dis-trust the private sector economy so much that the government seems to be a better choice with something as precious as healthcare? Do people not care? Are people too busy? There are probably many reasons why people are not willing to see this tragedy ahead for our healthcare, freedom, and country, but you don’t need to be a genius to predict the results.

A simple look at history will give you all the reasons you need to be scared to death of centralized government. Especially centralized governments that say they have your best interests at their core. Ask the millions of people slaughtered by Stalin’s government. Oh wait, you can’t. Ask the millions of people killed by Pol Pot in Cambodia. Oh wait you can’t. Ask the millions of people killed by Mao Ze-Dong of China. Oh wait you can’t. And the list goes on. What do they all have in common? They all promised to “take care of the people” from some evil force or something. How could millions of people be fooled to support a government that so obviously has no capacity to take care of anything? What they also have in common is the belief that the “community” is more important than the individual.

Our US Constitution protects the individual from the government. We are an anomaly in the history of the world. The fact that our government is dependent on its power from the people is why we have enjoyed such prosperity and freedom throughout our short history. The fact that the free exchange of goods and services between groups and individuals has been free of government control is why we are successful. It is also why resources are abundant in America unlike the countries that I mentioned above, and the countries that have socialism ( a system that claims to be “fair” to everyone equally) as their government structure, like Cuba.

If we follow the logic of Obamacare, does it look like a system that would be more comfortable in a communist/socialist country? Or in America where we have always believed in the free exchange of goods, services, and ideas between individuals?

Obamacare is about controlling cost, services, access, pricing, and delivery of healthcare. If a program is so good for the people it is supposed to serve, why does the government have to force people to join? Why is the government forcing doctors and hospitals to accept their payment schedules? Why is the government threatening people with fines and liens if this is supposed to be a system that helps the people? Things that are designed to help people don’t need to force people under penalty of law to comply.

A truly effective healthcare system relies on the choices of individuals to utilize the services they believe are best for them. An effective healthcare system starts with doctors and hospitals creating services at a price people need and can afford. Healthcare is no different than shopping around for any other product or service we need. The cost of healthcare should be driven by what people can and are willing to pay without third party assistance. Third party payers are what have been driving up healthcare costs over the years. Costly and tightly controlled Medical Schools, the threat of mal-practice lawsuits, regulations that impede the free exchange of services have all played a role in driving up costs. And in every instance it is either government regulation or third party payers that are impacting costs negatively.

Doctors should get paid fairly for their services; hospitals should operate under their own business models, because in the end they need patients to pay their bills. The healthcare industry like every other industry needs to compete for the individuals business. Then and only then will prices reflect the true value of the service. We need more doctors and hospitals and fewer government programs, IRS agents, and laws that utilize force and coercion.

If we lose sight of the individual over the community, the individual becomes expendable. Group think is responsible for millions upon millions of tragic horror stories throughout history. Don’t believe it can’t happen in America because it will. When demand increases, supply is short, lines are long and doctors are few, who do you want determining whether or not you receive medical treatment, you or some government agent? Under Obamacare you will be expendable and that will be a tragedy.

If healthcare is given the freedom to operate in a free market, demand will level, supply will be abundant, lines will be non-existent, and you and only you will decide what healthcare services you need and want. We have a choice and the choice is clear. Even Albert Einstein and Ronald Regan could make this choice. It doesn’t take a genius…