There were a couple of good articles out today about the future of health care in America. It's no secret that health care reform is one of Obama's primary objectives; he campaigned on the issue and in the Porkulus bill he laid the groundwork for nationalized health care. Now comes the budget.
I reject outright that health care is a "right." Let's just be upfront about that. I've yet to find in the constitution that we are "entitled" to health care, but maybe I'm missing something. Obama contends that 45% of Americans are uninsured and it is up to everyone else to pay to insure them. We already have Medicare, Medicaid and the newly expanded SCHIP (funded, ironically by tobacco sales), but this is apparently not enough, or not good enough.
At any rate, the always great Victor Davis Hanson has a piece on NRO, primarily addressing Obama's rhetoric, in which he points out that the American health care system, as is, is pretty darn good. In truth, you get treatment here that you could not get in those socialized countries that Michael Moore so appreciates or that Obama so wants to emulate. As Hanson explains it:
"If we wish to get health-care costs under control, then we should at least be honest with the American people and admit that we are all paying a collective fortune largely for three reasons: (1) to keep functioning into their 60s those who drank, smoked, and ate too much and in a past era would have passed on at 60; (2) to give us all an extra three to five years of mobility and functionality after we reach 75; (3) to fit us up with IVs, feeding tubes, and respirators so that in our last six months of life we can die in a rest home or among machines and specialists in a hospital rather than in our own home with a few morphine tablets for pain and a bowl of soup with a straw on the nightstand. "
He also says that "the cost of our health care is soaring because, to be frank, that health care is usually very good, and it does things routinely that almost no one else in the world contemplates — such as providing 83-year-olds with heart-valve replacements, 78-year-olds with hip and knee replacements, and those who drink, smoke, and are chronically obese with drugs and weekly doctor visits."
So what is to become of us? What is coming down the pike? Well, in the Porkulus bill Obama laid the ground work for nationalized health care and will require that all health records are computerized. And we all read the Betsy McCaughey analysis in which we learned that there are certainly going to be harsh penalties on those that do not conform to these regulations.
In today's New York Post, Sally Pipes has her analysis of what is to come:
"For most folks, health insurance is simply too expensive. And ramping up funding for government health programs, as Obama proposes, won't make insurance cheaper. In fact, it could cause private insurance to become more expensive.
After all, the feds reimburse hospitals and doctors at below-market rates for Medicare and Medicaid patients. So those of us with private health plans have to pay more to fill the gap - and that hidden tax is about 10 percent. In California, for example, private payers paid an extra $45 billion to compensate for unpaid Medicare costs in 2004.
Obama's budget also takes aim at prescription-drug costs by forcing manufacturers to give Medicaid a bigger discount, probably 20 percent, on brand-name drug purchases (it already gets a 15 percent break). That might help curb Medi caid's expenses, but it will raise drug prices for everyone else, who will have to make up the difference."
You will have a very hard time convincing me that this plan is good for America. The bottom line, like many other things that Obama is proposing, is that the wealthy are going to fund and support the not-so-wealthy, and health care reform is part of that. The first folks this will hit is going to be the elderly. Under Obama-care it is very unlikely, for example, that my elderly mother would have been able to go to physical therapy on her insurance for treatment of neuropathy. The experimental Anodyne Therapy she received? No way. Cataract surgery? Forget it. You're how old? Nope. And will this new reform keep potential doctors and nurses out of the field? Plenty of doctors and nurses are fussing about what they see coming, trust me. I've talked to a few.
In the end, the costs of taking care of those that don't have insurance will pass to the rest of us, as they always have, but by a much higher quotient. Soon, nobody will be able to afford private insurance and we will ALL depend on the government to pay for our health care. Oh wait, that's the point, isn't it?!