Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The New "NEW" Deal


From time to time throughout history many people in power have thought so. Usually these people in leadership have found ways to justify their behavior and have found many followers to rationalize destructive outcomes. Today is no different than other points in history as our leader and his followers meet to celebrate another "end justifies the means" triumph. Today they will celebrate the nationalizing of the American Health Care system.

Our President called for government control of Health Care and our Congress answered this call with 219 "Yeas" VS 212 "Nays" votes effectively putting an end to Heath Care as we have known it since the founding of the Country. The ways in which many of these 219 votes were come by should be an embarrassment to us all, but for this group currently in power it is a triumph.

With fanfare our President will sign the new bill into law today March 23, 2010. He will assure us that this new law will change the way we will access medical services forever. He will be right. The change will be profound. The changes will take place over time and a little at a time. This scaling in of the new health care plan (or scheme) should, they hope, go unnoticed by many. Since there shouldn't be any jarring effects, they are betting the anger the voters are expressing will subside before November. This is what has happened in the past.

It is not unusual that "things" have to become big problems before we begin to look back to see what all went wrong. First will come the finger pointing, then we will begin to seriously ask what caused the problem (s) in the first place. To understand what problems led us to this Health Care bill we have to look way back in time.

In the early thirties, access to health care and health care costs were seen as a problem and out of reach for many citizens. In the fifties, Government saw the problem growing and took a stab at it. Businesses and Unions started stepping up to the plate with health insurance and this was seen as a solution. By the sixties the problems with health care were compounding with the advent of more older people trying to live off of Social Security and pay for medical services….Medicare and Medicaid came into law creating as much division in government and with the American voters as this current Health Care Bill. From the sixties until recently, business has been able to help more employees with health costs through insurance programs. However, during this same period, the number of unemployed workers has grown as well as a tremendous growth in the overall population. This unemployed group may well continue to grow because of the change that has taken place in the industrial base in this country. (The great sucking sound that was predicted that jobs would be moving outside this Country was taking place during these past three decades and is still very much alive. Unemployment is swelling not unlike what was happening with the workers' base during the thirties.) The history leading up to Sunday night March 21, 2010 is the ever rising cost of health care and less access to health care along with a growing need in a growing citizen base.

If the reading of this history is more or less correct, what we can put our finger on as the most consistent aspect of the health care system's problems has been the cost of doctors fees, hospitals costs , and medication which stretches back over these last eighty years. If these costs over the years had been reasonable, would we have these problems or needed health insurance companies in this mix? The idea that we need to insure ourselves against doctor costs in the way we need to insure our homes against rebuilding costs is simply obscene.

Now that the our health law is in place, dare we ask does this law and all the regulations that will come with it solve or lower the costs of health care? Or does this new law simply shift the cost from the people who work for a living to people who do not work or people who work in marginal jobs? Under a socialist system of government this is what happens and is expected.

I'm sure President Johnson meant well and thought he was doing the right thing with his "Great Leap Forward." At the core of his social program was the notion that every citizen was entitled to a living. The ones who work had money to make their lives comfortable and the ones who did not work would be given money each month as well as health coverage to make their lives fairly comfortable. This seems compassionate on the surface but the impact on these groups over just two generations has pretty much devastated them.

To regress: If I make a mouse trap and no one else does I make lots of money. Someone sees what I am doing and starts making a mouse trap. We both make money but a little less. The more people making mouse traps the less money we all make. We call this competition. We see competition as the heart of our free enterprise system. Where competition still exists in our Capitalist system, it works well. Where we do not see the same thing at work is in our health care system. Doctors make lots of money. Why aren't there more people going into medicine one might wonder. Well, it doesn't have to do with the number of applicants to our medical schools. Cost plays a part but if there were financial grants specifically for medical student (like the nurses programs) the number of applicants would double. The barrier has to do with how many students the medical schools will take. Who limits the size of the medical schools? Who decides how many doctors will come into the market place each year? If this number is being controlled, who is doing the controlling and to what purpose?

Given this new Health Care law we need to at least double the number of doctors coming into the health care market every year. Every State has a medical school. This school should be answerable to the people of each State. There are just a whole bunch of ways to bring pressure on these universities. They respond really well to political pressure. Tell them they can't add a new building or a new football stadium until they double or triple the number of students in their medical programs and see how fast the program will expand. (NOTE: When we fix the Congressional problem next November then the Tea Partiers need to begin to fix the doctor problems and the educational system is where we must start.). The resistance to expanding the medical program will not come from the physicians in the State. They are working ten and twelve hour days and would like the help.

At this point in time the Tea Party folks are looking to get the federal government back on some kind of sound common sense footing. Hopefully this step is being seen as only the first step. Also, the most important step, because no matter what all else needs doing, those things must take a back seat until we fill Washington with representatives that are responsive to the will of the people.

The health care problems are fixable. This Health Care law is so flawed with assumptions, strange math, and government controls, that when the "promised fixes" begin to kick in, everyone affected, which will be everyone, the yelling will start, " We've got to fix the health care system," and it won't just be Tea Partiers on the streets this next go round.

Come mid-November we will see if the same DEMS are celebrating "the end justifies the means" like they are doing to in Washington today, March 23,2010.


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