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.