Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Clowns to the Left of Me Jokers to the Right

A couple years ago, I asked my father this question: When we were growing up, it seemed that my brother and I were always at the doctor. There were bones broken from bicycle wrecks and falls out of trees; road rashed knees and out of joint noses from school yard sports; on-going battles with childhood maladies like chickenpox and strep, colds and flu, ear aches and stomach upsets. How on earth did he and mom afford it all, given his salary as a butcher and hers as a housewife, neither of them insured?

He thought a minute. Then he shrugged. "I don't know, " he answered. "We just paid for it. It was in the monthly budget."

Huh. Imagine that. Medicine as a cost of living, just like groceries, rent, and utilities.

Why doesn't anyone on either side of the issue and the aisle see that? That health care reform shouldn't be about guaranteeing – by whatever means necessary, even if it's criminal – that every American has health care insurance. That if we continue to perpetuate the idea that insurance companies – backed by the government – are responsible for ensuring our health, we only perpetuate a system already bloated to the bursting point with greed and corruption. A system that has about as much to do with health and with care as I do with Crocs.

What neither side understands is that the only acceptable reform is returning medicine to the free market, so that individuals can contract with doctors, hospitals, and other providers directly, without meddling middle men. The only role of insurance in all this is as providers of catastrophic coverage. In other words, you get cancer, hit by a bus, or give birth to a disabled child, you got coverage. But those are separate policies for extreme circumstances that you choose to purchase, similar to life insurance. They're not shoved down your throat.

Seems to me that once we eliminate middle men for every day medical care and as doctors once again enter a competitive marketplace, the money we spend on taking care of ourselves becomes a simple cost of living, just like groceries, utilities, and clothing. Which, by the way, you truly can't live without. In fact, try living for a week without food, hot water, and underpants. Should the government provide those as well?

If it sounds too simple, well, what's wrong with simple? Thanks to Nixon, we already have a nationally managed health care system. The government is already involved. So, why more involvement when the system clearly doesn't work? Why another 1,000 indecipherable pages and dozens of sweaty PR flaks scrambling to turn a sows ear into a silk purse? Oh, yeah. I forgot. Washington isn't about simple. It isn't about care. It certainly isn't about real change. After all, why change a system that's all about keeping everyone's fingers in the Big Money Pie? Well, except your fingers and mine. Ours just dole out the dollars.


Milk River Madman said...

I would love to copy this, insert my parents' occupation and submit it to our local newspaper. One of the best comments I've seen so far on health. Well done!

Jenny said...

Why aren't you in charge?

Kymical Reactions said...

You're so right. We need health care assurance. not just insurance.

Heff said...

Someone's gotta say it....MOI FOR PRESIDENT.

moi said...

Milk River: Feel free!

Boxer: Because, oh Lord, I couldn't possibly come up with the right outfit.

Kmwthay: Washington + Assurance = Don't Bet Your Ass On It!

Heff: You weren't around last year, were you? Gnome ran me for prez, but, as you can see, my promise of a Louboutin in every pot fell on deaf voter feet.

Bretthead said...

I can't remember what my comment was going to be because that song is dominating every thought in my head.

h said...

Nice piece but you need to revise your numbers.

"1000 indecypherable pages" is just the House Bill. If it passes there will be MILLIONS of indecyperable pages added each year.

"Dozens of PR Flacks". The UK has an entire Sub-Ministry dedicated to the task of telling their yellow-teethed pasty-faced peons how wonderful the National Health Service is. It employs 3600 people. The Obamanation's version will employ at least 5x that number.

Buzz Kill said...

I'm all for the government providing free underwear. I have some older than my kids. GRRHAHAHHA

The biggest "middle men" that need to be removed from the system (and that weren't as prevelent in your Dad's time) are the scumbag lawyers. Malpractice suits are what got the cost of healthcare out of control. It contributes to Malpractice Insurance and all of the rediculous referals, redundant tests and red tape that doctors didn't use to do.

I like your thinking on this though.

chickory said...

i heard at the farmers market that local doctors were taking food and services as payment. one woman told me that they had successfully bartered a knee surgery in exchange for a "lamb subscription". i didnt ask how many springs that covered but i thought...yeah. i mean, is being a doctor going to be any fun in the future? im sure in those days your daddy took you to the doc he was not mandated to allot you exactly 12.3 minutes to diagnose and prescribe some bigpharma death pill that cures one thing while leaving other doors wide open for the trojans to assist you toward the next sickness.

to troll: you know what is interesting? check out the "activism" pages of any big city craigslist. the real astroturf is PAID positions to attend town halls in support of Obambicare.

moi said...

WTWA: Warren Zevon wrote a song about you: "Distractable Boy" :o)

Troll: The machine undoubtedly exists to perpetuate the machine.

Buzz: Naturally, not one mention of tort reform in the bill. Hellllooooooo . . . echooooooooo!

Chicory: Nor is there mention of preventative measures, i.e. how in the heck fire NOT to get sick in the first place. On smelly vision, all you see is adverts for drugs for problems that wouldn't even BE HERE in the first place if we all paid a little more attention to our diets and moved our bodies. On another note, I'd for ding dang sure trade my services for lamb! Bring it!

fishy said...

Brilliant Moi. You are sooooo very good at reducing a complex thing to a simple concept...maybe you should run again?

There ARE physicians out there who buck the government organization of their medical practice. I am investigating one here a friend told me about. This female physician accepts NO INSURANCE, private or public. She charges a flat annual rate for you to be her patient which includes your annual physical with typical bloodwork. If additional studies are needed, she either orders the studies or refers you to a specialist. These additions are not part of the annual fee. During the course of the year should you get the flu or the pox or a really bad earache .... office visits are a flat rate of $25.00. The friend I spoke with says this doc is very thorough, never rushed and prescribes only what she thinks your body cannot handle on it's own. I am also told this smart lady has high dollar earnings because she is NOT paying huge sums to employ insurance specialists, government liasons and does not offer health insurance to her staff. The big thing? She does not carry a huge mal-practice policy.....supposedly her argument there is:
an attorney will not take a suit against an MD who has a policy less than a half mil because it isn't worth their time. No big 1/3 awards to the counselor. I have also heard she is married to an uber bright lawyer who advised her to set up her practice on this format. So yes indeed, if more doctors practiced on this format, then we all could budget for family medical care and just keep catastrophic insurance for the big things. The problem....if I broke my arm 30 years ago, the cost to set, cast and check was about $300.
Now .... about $2500.00. Not catastrophic but pricey nonetheless.

And to Buzz.... er Uncle Sam IS the middleman driving up the costs... the lawyers are just pawns compared to big government.

Bretthead said...

I think you are thinking of Excitable Boy, but your point is still valid. I'm just glad you didn't say Rub Me Raw.

h said...


Didn't know that about Craig's List but it isn't a surprise. What's more disgusting is TAXPAYER-PAID Government Employees taking a DAY OFF WITH PAY to go shill for the Obamanation at those "townhalls".

An upcoming Troll Report post will describe my "Townhall" experience.
They wouldn't call on me but Chef Trey-J looks innocent and was able to embarass the Obamanation flack/apologist!

moi said...

Fishy: Huh. Now THAT is truly interesting. I wonder what her thoughts are on this current plan? Or what would happen to her right to run her business the way she sees fit if it gets implemented. As for rise in costs, you do have to adjust for inflation, etc. when calculating costs today versus costs 30 years ago. But I agree that there are factors that have nothing to do with either that run up health care costs. All of which would stabilize, if not lessen, under a free market system.

WTWA: "Excitable Boy" is about a serial killer. You're silly, not crazy. So, yeah, I was punning ya.

Troll: I'm going to try and have a chat with my congress dudes next week. Both of whom are so entrenched in the system it would take backhoe to pry them loose. Still, I'm determined to at least say my peace/piece.

Drinky Crow said...

You have a moral obligation to pay for my Cirrhosis and syphillis treatments.

Polly Esther Rash said...

sorry, OT.

i was looking around on some of your fashion links, which i really enjoy. and who do you think i hear in my head every time i see some hideous get up? you know Nene's gay friend?

"how dreadful"


moi said...

Drinky: While we're at it, may as well toss in your mental illness.

Poly: And, yet, he never turns his laser beam assessments on Miz Nene. However, I'm beginning to think she rocks, regardless.

Pam said...

I want to go to Fishy's doctor. I love that concept. Although I have no complaints with my one experience with the National Health Care system in the UK, just the scale of it in this country is enough to make me concerned. But if **they** can get it in, it will be a short matter of time before it goes out again ... Americans are spoiled brats and we want what we want when we want it, and waiting on a hip replacement or such ain't gonna happen.

No one ever brings up that the countries who have a national health care also have private insurance being sold to cover just such cases. Hmmmm.

Aunty Belle said...

Well, it ain't MAH fault!! I vote fer Moi for President!!

Looky, thar's gonna be a HUGE blackmarket medicine bidness. I knows plenty of docs already buyin' up "used" med equipment. So, me an' mine may git our care in the garage of a local doc--a real doc, not no gubmint wonk lookin' at a chart of who has to wait 10 years fer surgery.

moi said...

Pam: Yeah. The pendulum, it does like to swing.

Aunty: Thankfully, there are doctors in our family :o).