Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Party's Over

Up until now, we have seen some superficial co-operation among disparate interests over needed healthcare reform, but now the wheels seem to be coming of the bus. Republicans, conservative groups and some business organizations have begun accelerating efforts to derail legislation, by calling the Democratic proposals costly and dangerous experiments in "government-run" health care. Their main goal is to slow down the pace of the legislation in Congress in the hope of fomenting wider opposition. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has been quoted in the Washington Post as saying, "If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo." "It will break him."

What we are talking about, of course, is regulation of the market, and figuring out how to cover all of our citizens. That is not "government-run" health care. In the many countries of Europe, for example, very few of them "run" the health care system, Great Britain being the notable exception. By trotting out their tired old stereotypes, I think that conservative activists are discrediting their cause, and depriving us of a real debate on substance.

The fact is that we already do have one "government-run" health care program", and that is Medicare. I will be the first to tell you that it does have faults, but it is highly rated by those it serves, and it is quite efficient in it's management, far more so that private plans are. So much for the evil, clumsy government.

We already have a dysfunctional healthcare mess for which we spend more than anyone else on the planet. The money we waste may not be a government tax, but we are paying it every time we buy a product made by a US firm or pay your insurance premium.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comments. Also, that was a great summary article in the Bellingham Herald on July 19th.

I agree that there is a lot of noise and misinformation from our media and special interests. I wish that we still had Walter Cronkite!

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to read words from a doctor who is actually for government run healthcare. Not that many are.

Greta said...

You are one of the few doctors I have heard who says that medicare is highly rated by those it serves. If they had an option for a paid insurance plan from one of those dreaded insurance companies, I would bet that the vast majority would prefer it. Also if it is so good, why do so many doctors opt out of medicare? What will be the impact if costs are lowered in the future for medicare payments to docs and hospitals? I think it could become difficult for seniors to find good doctors. Many of the best in our area are going into concierge care already. As to it being efficient, why has the cost of healthcare gone from 5% of GDP before Medicare to 17-18% of a much higher GDP today? It is one of the poorest systems to control costs and improve quality going today. And also isn't there a slight problem with Medicare that the democrats want to ignore for now? Medicare is going to go broke without reform as is Social Security.