Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Health Care Bill, one man's view.

It's been a fews days since the health care has passed. I haven't commented on it until now. Wanted to give the dust a chance to settle. For those who think this is the final straw in government overreach -it isn't. For those "Progressives" who think the bill will make a more fair and just society -it won't.

Just a few observations. My current medical plan is considered fairly good. One problem is that it takes a huge chunk out of my income. My parents had the same plan. They went through a medical bankruptcy. The things not covered by the plan add up enough to ruin a comfortable middle class life. When mom died two years ago dad didn't have enough money to pay for the funeral.

For the last 30 years my wife has worked in a number of different hospitals. I've seen what happens there from the inside. It ain't pretty. Costs have spiraled out of control. Good doctors leave their practices due to outrageous malpractice insurance rates. Others leave because they spend more time doing paperwork than practicing medicine. They have to justify every medical test to the insurance company. It's really the insurance companies practicing medicine right now.
To get the bill passed some of the worse practices of the insurance companies will be curtailed. Of course, many of those things won't come into effect for years. You can be sure the insurance companies will be taking full advantage until then.

Many Libertarians are concerned that government is intruding more and more into people's personal lives. It is. That's what governments do.

The states have filed lawsuits against the bill. It's going to be a political nightmare. This is just act one.

Never mind all that. Health care will get a lot worse no matter what happens. The health care industry has grown and grown until it makes the military industrial complex look small. It's gotten more complicated. Costs have risen much faster than the rate of inflation. That can't go on forever. The government solution is to add even more layers of complexity. That will only hasten a total collapse of the system. Things are going to simplify one way or the other.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, their health care system collapsed along with it. Death rates rose and then rose some more. Russia has had a steady downward slide in population ever since. Only in the last year has their population stabilized. This could easily be our future.

There were other factors that influenced death rates. The economy collapsed. People who grew up believing in the system lost heart when it all fell apart. What does our economy look like? If you are over 40, does this look like the country you were brought up to believe in? Looks like there are some dangerous parallels.

There are positive steps that can be taken. The system can be fixed, but not without major overhaul.

*Accept that there will be medical rationing. It happens now but we don't talk about it.
*End of life care will change. Old grandma who was never sick a day in her life becomes ill or injured at 88 and a million dollars of invasive treatment gives her 6 months of pain and suffering. That won't happen any more.

*Preventative care. That's were the big bang for the bucks are. It's boring: diet and exercise, but effective. Banning high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners would go a long way towards better general health.

*Alternative medicine. Don't get me wrong. If I'm having a heart attack, administer CPR. Don't get out a purple crystal and chant. That being said, we already have a growing alternative medical system. It will get better. Those things that work will spread. Those that don't will die out. Cost will be one factor, but alternatives often work where main stream methods don't. It worked for me when regular medical treatments reached a dead end.

On a personal level, about the best thing you can do is take care of your own health. I've finally gotten serious about taking care of mine. We've got interesting times ahead and I'll need to be in fighting trim.



  1. Right on the money, Sixbears. I couldn't agree more. The current medical system is a total mess--much too complex, and hugely too expensive. Simplifying will be to everyone's benefit. That, and setting the practice free from the monopoly control of allopaths. Alternative medicine is the way of the future for the most part. Good post!

  2. Not, of course, that the fedgov was wise enough to upset the allopath monopoly in health care...wish that were true.