The Hidden Issues of the Healthcare Debate
We need to abandon the notion that our private third-party-payer system of health care enhances our freedom or protects our income from socialistic taxes. For starters, business people are shaping the way we deliver health care. The bottom line at the doctor’s office is that what gets paid for happens, and what doesn’t get paid for doesn’t. And people with MBA’s, not MD’s are deciding what gets paid for. They are also deciding what gets marketed. Anyone who watches the nightly news would swear that our most serious national health issue is erectile dysfunction. That is not health policy. Something has certainly come between you and your doctor, and it is not big government.
As for the cost of government-run health care? Tally up what percentage of new car purchase makes its way to health insurance companies via auto workers benefits. Look at your property tax and calculate how much of that goes to public school teacher health benefits. Then do the same for college tuition bills, and other big ticket items. Consider how much your employer spends on private insurance, and what that means for your paycheck, your job security, or even your ability to change jobs.
We need to pay for healthcare, and we need to accept that that tab is going to be hefty if it is to result in longer, healthier lives. But we need health policy to be the most beneficial and effective that it can be, and we need the costs to be transparent. Most Americans are not aware of the extent to which market forces shape clinical practice in this country. And the American taxpayer has no way of knowing what he or she is actually “paying” for health care. The truth would probably shock even the most fiscally conservative of us into reform.