Thursday, September 3, 2009

Beware of the Words "Scaled Back" in Health Care Reform

Now that the liberal health care "reform" (whatever it really consists of) is in trouble, they are talking about "scaling back" on their "program".

All I can tell you from my own experience here in Wash. state is that when the liberals use the words "scaled back" watch out for your wallet. What that really means is that they are conceding that they cannot get a whole loaf, so they will settle for half a loaf -- for now. Then after they have gotten their half-loaf, they will proceed to slip in the rest of their plan/program through the process of incrementalism. They will use the words, "Well, now that we've already started, we might as well go the rest of the way" or similar. They will sneak or bamboozle the rest of their originally intended program into place.

I'm no expert on the health care situation, so anyone please step in to correct me if I misspeak on the issue. Here are some random thoughts that come to my mind.

1. The way health care is paid for in the US certainly could use some looking into. However, it seems to me that any efforts at securing economies in health care are doomed unless torte reform (quickly given a hands-off in the current debate) accompanies health care reform. The high cost of insuring the medical profession is a major factor in a high cost of health care provision. Is it any wonder that torte reform was killed when most of the Congress consists of lawyers? Im going to speculate here, but I'm sure that the legal profession is well represented by lobbyists in DC. Significant torte reform resulting from health care reform would put a serious dent in the revenue stream of the legal profession.

2. People who favor some form of health care reform often point to government-sponsored systems in other (modern, western) countries. Please let's bear in mind that most of these examples consist of a social fabric that is different from that of the US. For one thing, most of them do not have the illegal immigration situation that the US has. For another, most of these countries do not have a significant underclass of financially needy citizens dependent upon social welfare. This underclass is the same part of society that tends to over-breed which contributes to the medical costs of that society. For a third, most of these countries have a society which is of a more homogeneous nature and makes for a more productive, orderly and organized citizenry. Most of these countries have much higher tax structures in place to support government-sponsored medicine, and most of their citizens of working age are employed.

3. Government provision of medical services in the US has not had a good track record to date. I cite the inefficient, inequitable, and poor service that the Veterans Administration medical services are known for. If people are afraid of "rationed care" through government medicine, they have to look no further than the VA for an example. The Medicare program/system is in a precarious way financially and will not survive many more years without serious revisions.

4. One of the main troubles with big government in the US is that there are so many different interest groups and contituencies involved in crafting legislation that a clean, clear-cut solution to a problem is never realized. An old addage explains much of it: "Too many people have their fingers in the pie" or "Too many cooks spoil the broth". By making sure that every hog has his snout in the trough, so many measures just wind up being a mess. That's probably what will happen with the current push for "health care reform".

5. You wait and see. Whatever program the current administration and Congress comes up with in the way of health care "reform," it will wind up costing way, way more than ever was stated or envisioned. Reason? A combination of things I have outlined above. Too many interests being satisfied; incremental add-ons to original concepts (just like what happened with Social Security); government inefficiency.

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