The trap of healthcare reform

No one should suffer because they can’t afford health care. No one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, consider posting this as your status for the rest of the day”

The enemy: Heart attack burgers and artery-clogging fries

The enemy: Heart attack burgers and artery-clogging fries

This is the status post of several of my good friends on Facebook. It has been interesting to note the viral spread of this post which I assume has to do with healthcare reform. The posters have been mostly liberal-minded friends. I’ve tried to sympathize, but the more I see it, the angrier I get.

It’s a trap to make you feel bad if you don’t agree with health care reform. Of course no one should suffer, but I feel that there should be consequences for actions.

It got me thinking about a public health plan. As I understand it, a public option would NOT be free. There would be premiums, albeit less expensive, just like any other healthcare insurance. So should someone suffer because they can’t afford the premiums. The viral status statement leads me to believe that proponents of a public option would pay for everyone’s healthcare regardless of the ability to pay.

Let’s extrapolate that idea. Until now, I’ve not cared where anyone in the world eats. I’ve broke bread with my chubby brethren at plenty of McDonald’s around the state. However a public option for which no one would EVER suffer regardless of the ability to pay would mean my taxes would go to pay, in part, for the myocardial infarction my brethren are likely to suffer as a part of the steady diet of fast food.

So what’s a government to do?

There is the possibility of a large Public Service Announcement campaign similar to the one that rapidly decreased pollution pigs from the 1970s. No one could possibly be against jailing idiots that trash our scenic byways with litter. The tear of the iconic Native American struck a chord across this nation. That coupled with steep fines changed a behavior pattern.

Why wouldn’t the same thing happen with poor health habits. Wouldn’t that put McDonald’s out of business?

What about fining people who are completely out of whack with their BMI? Do we fine them at national weigh-ins?

Sure, there’s an element of hyperbole in my analysis, but how long would it be before we all started to realize that their is a segment of the population that is going to cost us tons o’ tax dollars? Who is thinking ahead on all this stuff? Shouldn’t we have safeguards against these type of actions included in any law that is passed?

How long before motorcycle helmet laws are instituted in EVERY state including Indiana? How can the Congressional Budget Office calculate the number of Americans who will jump to a government insurance option or be turfed by their employers to one. Yes, I understand that there is a provision for employers to pay an amount to the government to get out of providing healthcare, but how much longer before that is a fiscally popular option.

I think there is definitely room for compromise, but we are headed down a path to single payor and the inevitable jealousy that comes with it.

I resent the implication that I would be calloused enough to inflict suffering on those who cannot afford health insurance. Just about any hospital would  accept any patient who needs immediate attention. No one should go broke because of a sickness that is NOT the result of their smoking, overeating, inactivity, or break dancing.

There is a need for reform, but it needs to be tackled in stages with an intent on forecasting unintended consequences. Too often legislators do not get a full picture before the frenzy to vote is upon them. We need to carefully anticipate the future of our health care before we get sucked into a bad plan.

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3 comments

  1. You nailed it Gus. That post is being put up by people who either simply want to push the healthcare reform agenda or simply do not understand exactly what it is saying. No hospital turns away anyone who presents with medical issues. There are anti-dumping laws already on the books in every state that prevent them from doing so. Moreover, there ARE consequences from actions and removal of those consequences leads to further erosion of careful consideration prior to engaging in those actions. As for the bankruptcy issue, the bankruptcy system is entirely set up to help people out from under a debt that they can’t pay, without destroying their lives. It is designed to help those who face some catostophic event like, oh, I don’t know, a major medical issue that was unforseen and now can’t be paid for. It is NOT designed to help those who live in a house they can’t afford or spend on credit to live a lavish lifestyle they can’t pay for. However, some folks seem to accept this, while blaming it on the credit companies and banks. Live your life within your means. Earn what you need and if you have extra you can buy what you desire. If you do this, pay your own way, and take responsibility for your actions, the rest of the people would gladly help you out if you got in a tough spot. It happens every day around here from charity outings, to raffles, to poker runs, and so on. Certainly systems can be improved and made better and efforts should be made within the healthcare arena as well. Those efforts should be focused on the smallest changes that can make the most difference. What we do not need is a complete government intervention in our lives in order to help a small segment of the population. A government intervention that is unaffordable and unsustainable.

  2. In a recent FaceBook post I tried to explain my feelings about health insurance reform but apparently I botched it. Basically, if insurance companies were allowed to compete for business across state lines, and if they were taxed in 2010 in inverse proportion to the money they paid out for coverage, wouldn’t we be much better off? Wouldn’t they be willing to offer better coverage at lower rates. Who would suffer? Oh…that’s right…the IRS.

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