Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sick of Middlemen

Theraflu is nasty.  It’s totally effective and I swear by it, but the “lemon” taste is just awful.  I reintroduced myself to it this week as the temperatures in the Twin Cities went from 80 to 40 to 70 to 40 day to day sending my internal temperature rising.  Whenever I feel the fever coming I proactively drink the nasty and it generally staves off something more serious --- whether that’s true or whether that’s my own hypochondria doesn’t matter.  It works.  The symptoms were gone by morning.  Since I don’t have insurance, I’ll continue to practice medicine my way. 

Perhaps I should have just walked into any doctor’s office or hospital and get care for free.  That’s ObamaCare, right?  His socialized medicine system will make us wait in line to get cold medicine, right?  For an aspirin we’ll have to get permission from Congress, right?  None of that is true…much to the chagrin of many liberals (and some conservatives) … the law is actually about insurance, not health care.  Under the law, Americans are being required to carry insurance or pay a tax.  With insurance you still have co-payments, limitations, deductibles, etc…so the law is in no way a socialist utopia…and is, in fact, an ode to corporatism.  The confusion over what the law does comes thanks to $100 million in advertising that occurred after the Healthcare law was signed, according to the Washington Post.

It is ironic that in the same week that the Supreme Court takes three days testimony (the most time ever) on the various challenges to the law – one of the fiercest opponents of the idea of government mandated insurance/health-care received a new heart.  Former Vice President Dick Cheney was one of the very few Americans over the age of 70 to get a heart transplant.  He had been on the list for 20 months.  As a former congressman, cabinet official and Vice President – he received all of the necessary care at taxpayer expense.

The contradiction that the transplant represents is the most visible reminder that Americans must actually address a fundamental question.  Is having health care coverage –whatever hybrid-morphed version the for-profit insurance companies, pharmaceuticals and Legislators develop – a right or a privilege?  Nowhere in the constitution is health care promised…not even the pursuit of it.  If it’s a right, then a single payer system is really the only logical and fair system.  If it’s a privilege then Government really shouldn’t be involved and let the true free market enterprise system sort it out. 

The middleman is actually the problem.  According to the Kaiser Family Foundation the average  family spends $15,000 per year on healthcare coverage, with employers paying on average $10,000 of it.  That doesn’t include the additional out of pocket costs, prescriptions, etc.  The American healthcare system is about testing, not treatment.  Testing benefits the middleman (insurance companies) – not necessarily the patient or society at large.

However long Dick Cheney lives with the transplanted heart and no matter what the Supreme Court decides on “ObamaCare” – the fundamental inequities will continue.  And that we’re all really sick of.


  1. I didn't know Cheney had a heart

  2. Craig, you clearly addressed the problem. Sadly, Obamacare so misses the mark when it comes to a solution. 1) The government has no Constitutional authority to require citizens to buy anything. When Chrysler and GM were bankrupt, would the solution have been for the Feds to require us to buy inferior cars? 2) We do not have competitive healthcare in this country. Insurance companies (even Blue Shield California, a non-profit), cannot sell across state lines. Why is it I can buy my earthquake insurance from a company in Iowa for a lower premium, but my health insurance providers are locked within State lines? 3) Politicians always feather their own nests. They don't contribute to or receive Social Security, they have their own sweet deal. So, Dick Cheney isn't doing anything that the rest of the Federal employees are doing. They know a bad deal when they see one, and they exempted themselves from Social Security because it is a loser as a retirement system.

    I say, free the market. Let insurance companies compete nationally rather than only within states (in Iowa, there are only TWO health insurers!). And if people really want a government healthcare option, then allow us to buy into the plan that Dick Cheney had. And, while they're at it, let us drop out of Social Security and buy into the sweet retirement plan that the Congress established for itself.

    The more options, the better!

    Ken Koonce