.I just finished reading Tom Degan's blog and came away feeling rather sad. Tom is one of those a liberal Democrats that still blame everything wrong on Bush and Cheney. In his view all of Mr. Obama's failures, and there are many, are attributable to the previous administration. It's not true - but it has become the mantra of many deluded, ENTITLEMENT minded, Democrats. What is going on here? The recent health care legislation has magnified the real problem. Our methods of processing legislation are badly flawed and will get no better until we demand an end to the wholesale corruption of the system. We've allowed it to happen - and stopping it will be no easy task.
Let's begin with ENTITLEMENTS. The entitlements described in our founding documents make sense. I'll not repeat them here - except to say that those entitlements NOT mentioned were supposed to be the responsiblity of the individual states. What ever happened to that idea?
The federal government should build interstate highways - and individual states should build their own roads. There should be a national banking system with common currency that can be used in any state and abroad. Those are examples of logical and legal entitlements.
The FEDERAL POSTAL SYSTEM is usually considered another - but it has a long record of fiscal failure that may not be fair to all citizens. Perhaps the current system should not be required to handle unprofitable mail. And why do we insist that the system handle magazines and other heavy merchandise? Couldn't those items be sent by way of UPS or FedEx or a similar competitive private enterprise? And what can't we have community postal boxes at key locations instead of individual home delivery? We are ENTITLED to a federal postal system but not to unprofitable service. Let's get this fixed.
The INSURANCE BUSINESS. Insurance premiums used to be based upon actuarial tables - but sometime during the last 50 years this changed. Today there is more reliance upon our federal government for uninsured losses. Americans now expect that destruction and loss of property, if called an ACT OF GOD by the President, will be paid for by the federal government. Why? There is an element of risk in everything an individual does. Our government was never empowered to relieve us of ALL risk in our daily lives - but now we feel we are ENTITLED to this insurance. Perhaps we should not be?
The MEDICAL BUSINESS. Like insurance, the costs of medical care used to be the responsibility of the individual. Everything changed in 1965 when Medicare and Medicaid were introduced. The federal government, through these programs, pays for much of the medical care for the elderly and poor. Since that time the disastrous consequences have been documented as the cost of care soared. It is crystal clear that patients OVERUSE OF MEDICAL RESOURCES is by far the most critical component of rising health care costs.
Why did this happen? An analogy would suggest that if the government told citizens it would pay for 80% of the cost of purchasing a new car, most of them would go to their local dealer and buy a very expensive luxury car. The auto industry would sell more cars. The citizen would drive a Cadillac instead of a Chevy, and everybody would be happy. But where did the government get the money to pay the 80%? From the taxpayer of course, and doesn't that mean that ALL TAXPAYERS, RICH AND POOR, were forced to pay enough taxes to cover YOUR new car? Is that fair?
According to a well known think tank, "analysis indicates that our high and rapidly growing medical costs are the result of various government policies that have removed patients as purchasers in the medical marketplace." Third party (government and insurance companies) purchasers have removed the patient as a major participant.
The Clinton Administration tried to tell us the DRUG INDUSTRY was responsible for the escalating costs - but the drug industry was a very minor factor. The Clinton Administration also told us that the "big three", DRUGS, VISION, AND DENTISTRY must be brought under control. Careful analysis indicates the latter two categories have experienced the SMALLEST INCREASE in total expenditures. It is a mystery why the Clinton people were so determined to impose egregious additional expenses on these few areas not suffering from an explosion of costs. The Obama Administration is trying to add even more mysteries
To lower the currently huge medical expenses in America, the impact of the third party payment system must be reduced. Putting the patient back in control of the medical purchasing decision is the most promising way to control our medical system and provide a reasonable safety net.
Unfortunately, the Obama Administration is forcing adoption of a plan that promises just exactly the opposite.
A GOVERNMENT CONTROLLED NEW ENTITLEMENT WE CAN NOT AFFORD.