The debate the other night was okay, nothing impressive, basically two stump speeches given in debate form. It was hardly a typical town hall and frankly I think the American people were cheated. However, Brokaw did somehow manage to ask an interesting question that grasped my attention: Is health care a right, a privilege or a responsibility? McCain answered – correctly of course – that it was a responsibility. Obama said – in a rather flip, immeasured way – that it was a RIGHT.
Let me explain why this is so wrong on so many levels. Healthcare is a service. A product. The result of a person’s labor. When he says that other people have a RIGHT to your labor he begins to walk a very dangerous line. If the product of my labor is the right of others, then that makes it a bit difficult for me to charge them for it. We’re getting much too close to socialism for my comfort and I wish someone else would start voicing these concerns as well. The notion that people are rightfully entitled to the labor of other people is about as Marxist as it gets and I think Obama should be very careful in how he chooses his words. It didn’t appear to me that he thought much about his answer, which makes him reckless, and if he did think about it then that only confirms my previous notion that he is a socialist.
When we say that healthcare is a right, then we are basically saying that the government must provide it for the people. How? The government doesn’t have money of its own and doesn’t employ medical professionals. So the government will take money from some of its citizens to spend on the healthcare of others. Again, this is a socialist notion. Redistribution of wealth, unequal protection. Justice is not blind, instead she removes her blindfold long enough to ask what you do and how much money you make. I have similar problems with the progressive income tax, but that’s another post.
And how, exactly, does Obama plan to define “healthcare”? When we say this is a right, how far are we going? I could argue that the nation’s network of emergency rooms meets the obligation. People can receive life-saving care regardless of ability to pay. No, it’s not the ideal place to get basic healthcare, but it does serve as a safety net. But that’s obviously not enough for Obama. So he’s not saying that “healthcare” is a right, but is saying that having healthcare from a primary care physician is a right. This opens another can of worms. How will a doctor’s practice be restricted? If I identify “drug seeking” behavior from a patient and refuse to continue caring for that person, have I opened myself to a lawsuit for violating someone’s rights? What if I refuse to prescribe an antibiotic for a common cold, have I just violated someone’s rights? What if I get behind and patients are in my waiting room too long? What if I’m booked full and don’t have appointments available? Are we prepared to say that people have the right to Viagra? Narcotic pain medications? Cosmetic surgery? Weight loss surgery? And what about the pharmaceutical industry? If I am the CEO of a drug company and the POTUS states that people have a right to my product, then I’m going to demand government subsidies. In fact, expect the entire medical community to do this once Obama opens his Pandora’s Box. God knows there are enough lawsuits in the medical field, Obama threatens to create even more.
When we say that the people have a right to a doctor’s labor, then we aren’t far from saying that the government should be the doctor’s employer on government salary to administer to the rights of the citizens; and that hospitals should be public, nonprofit, government operated facilities. What this does is effectively removes the profitability in the medical field. And I’ve long argued that if you ever do that you will see quality of care plummet to something unimaginable. Access? Forget it. Getting an appointment with a doctor will be very difficult. Quality? Once you remove market competition you remove the motivation for quality care, top to bottom (this includes the nursing and rehab fields as well).
Look at Medicaid, it’s a complete disaster. I have trouble finding consultants and specialists willing to see my Medicaid patients because it usually results in a loss of money. Just recuperating one’s expenses is difficult. When I order something for a Medicaid patient I often find myself having to call and explain my actions to some government bureaucrat who has absolutely no medical background…NONE! This is like having my mechanic call a local high school cheerleader to tell her what he wants to do to my car. What’s worse is that sometimes the bureaucrats tell me that I can’t order a particular test and have to try something else instead. Who has the medical degree here?! Do people want their doctors delivering medical care or fighting with government bozos over their decisions? Because of red tape and bureaucracy Medicaid patients have been stigmatized in the medical world, and medicare isn’t much better. Every year Congress discusses cutting medicare payments. Do they want these people to get healthcare or not? Doctor’s offices are businesses and we have bills to pay. And another thing, the old notion that doctors make lots and lots of money is bogus, consider me a living testament to this. Many of us are middle class citizens and now Obama wants to say that people have a right to my services!
Now, the AMA favors universal health care but that’s basically because the AMA is a lobbyist organization and they want access to government money. I’m not a member of the AMA for this reason. I want people to have quality healthcare and I don’t believe the government is capable of delivering that and I don’t believe the AMA is looking out for patients.
The shame of it is that these patients are good people and should be cared for. The government is clueless to this fact and clueless on how best to do it, and now Obama wants to further the government’s involvement. This will be a disaster!
Healthcare is a responsibility. PERIOD. People have a responsibility to obtain healthcare for themselves and their family. The medical community has a responsibility to deliver QUALITY care to the community, something government involvement will hinder. Doctors have a responsibility to care for a certain number of people who, yes, can’t afford to pay. Drug companies have a responsibility to manufacture quality products and keep prices reasonable. The insurance industry has a responsibility to keep premiums low and relax their restrictions on pre-existing conditions. And the government has a responsibility to allow the healthcare industry just compensation for their labor to ensure that QUALITY is not sacrificed.
Rest assured and mark my words. Each day the government furthers their involvement in this industry is another day that healthcare becomes more mediocre. I fear the day that my words become reality.