Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Medical Care: Part II

This is the second in a series of posts about American medical care and the government’s attempts to meddle in it. Posts about other topics may appear between them.

My first post in this series pointed out that among the people who want to do away with the way medical care is delivered in America, most of them cite Canada and the U.K. as models we should follow. Then, it recited some important facts about medical care in this nation versus medical care in those nations, showing that things are better here. Finally, it closed by asking why we should abandon our system and follow theirs.

But few Americans really want to “abandon our system.” Polls repeatedly show that 75 to 80 percent of us are happy with our coverage and our care. What most people do want is to find a way to accommodate those who are faced with hardships that genuinely prevent them from receiving medical services.

But the percentage of our population which falls into that category is small, and finding a way to accommodate them does not require that we eradicate the entire apparatus by which our care is delivered.

Obama has breezily claimed that 47 million Americans are uninsured, but nobody who analyzes the census estimates concurs with him. Sure, for 2007 (the most recent year for which census estimates exist) the stated number of uninsured was 45.7 million. However, after you back out the number of non-citizens -- and the number of people who already qualified for existing public care -- and the number of high earners who chose not to buy insurance because they could afford to pay for whatever treatment they needed -- and the number of people who were temporarily uninsured because they were between jobs, or were simply waiting to meet their new employer’s waiting period before they could be eligible for benefits -- the number plummets to anywhere from 8 to 15 million, depending on who’s doing the estimating.

And that is a relatively small number that should be easy to deal with. There are many things (to be discussed in a future post) that Obama & Co. could do to help those people without jeopardizing the care everyone else receives. However, those things are not even being discussed because the government’s goal is not to help people, but to control them.

On many occasions, Obama has said that under the proposed legislation you can keep your current plan if you like it and keep your current doctor if you like him. This is not true. The House bill would assess a fine, equal to anywhere from 2 to 8 percent of payroll, on employers who do not provide medical insurance to their workers. What Obama & Co. choose not to tell you is that for most employers, the amount of money they are already paying for medical insurance is much higher than that -- usually around 15 percent of payroll. Therefore, the fine will actually incent businesses to drop their insurance. In a competitive environment, what business owner would not choose to pay 2 to 8 percent to the government over paying 15 percent to an insurer.

Worse, when you look at page 16 of the bill, you will find that after your employer drops your insurance, the so-called public option will be the only one available to you because purchasing private insurance will then be illegal.

Further, the bill forbids anyone who does keep their private insurance after the legislation goes into effect from ever making any changes to it...so if you (or your employer) want to do anything like change your deductible or your prescription co-pay, or opt out of maternity coverage, you must either 1) forget the idea, or 2) lose your coverage and be forced into the public system since new private insurance will not be legal.

If the president and his minions were honest, they would stop referring to their plan as a public “option” and call it what it is: a dictate from on high that has everything to do with seizing power and nothing to do with saving lives.

Information used in this post was obtained from Investor’s Business Daily, the Chicago Tribune, the Lewin Group, and the Schnitt Show.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How does taking over the medical system constitute seizing power? Why not just do what Busch did and overstep his authority. So that congress cowers and is too frightened to take their rightful place in checking the power of the executive.