Sunday, November 8, 2009

Healthcare Reform Revisited

The House of Representatives passed it's healthcare reform bill last night. According to the CBO (Congressional Budget Office), it will cost between 17% and 20% of your pre-tax income. Even assuming that their estimate is accurate - the cost estimates for every other entitlement program have been wildly optimistic - that's not a bargain I'd leap on with the fury of a thousand jungle beasts. But it will be mandatory. You buy the insurance or you pay a fine, citizen.

What's driving health care costs can be divided into four behavioral categories:

1. Patient behavior: We're our own worst enemy. Most medical problems are self-induced. If America put down the cigarettes and Twinkies, there wouldn't be a healthcare crisis. The House's bill does not address personal responsibility at all. On the contrary, it will force those who choose healthy lifestyles to subsidize the chainsmoking hogbodies who don't.

2. Healthcare provider behavior: Doctors and hospitals want to make as much money as they can, plus they're forced by the threat of lawsuits to practice "defensive medicine". They order high-cost, low-value tests and procedures because there's no incentive to economize, they'll be sued into the stone age if they miss something, and, well, they're greedy. There is nothing in the bill whatsoever to encourage healthcare providers to use economic common sense.

3. Lawyer behavior: Lawyers make their parasitic livings by finding mistakes and assigning blame. See above. The House bill completely ignores the issue. Why is the subject of tort reform ignored? Just a wild guess, but maybe because our president is a lawyer married to a lawyer and our vice president is a lawyer married to a lawyer? And somehow the Trial Lawyers Association has become the nation's second largest "campaign contributor"?

4. Insurance company behavior: Greed yet again. They're in business to make money, not because they're humanitarians. And they do so by charging as much as possible, and paying out as little as possible. Why aren't we going to a single-payer system that simply eliminates insurance companies? Could it be because the largest "campaign contributor" - I know you were wondering who was in first place - is the F.I.R.E. (Financial/Insurance/Real Estate) industry?

Congress is a legislation vending-machine. If lawyers and insurance companies put enough money in at the top, the legislation they want comes out at the bottom. To add insult to injury, congress has already exempted themselves from this "reform". It's for us serfs, not our masters. You know those guys who keep getting busted with sacks of money in their freezers and such? Yeah, them.

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