A college student’s take on healthcare reform

Edited for your viewing pleasure

Edited for your viewing pleasure

A slight discrepancy
It had to happen sooner or later…. I’m going to fudge a little on my original guideline set out for this blog, but only because I believe the issue for which I’m going to break my own rule of remaining “neutral” is so deserving. I believe it is so fundamental to the makeup of my country that I can’t and won’t stay quiet. You probably already know what I’m going to say – healthcare.
Now that I got the million-pound word off my chest, you already have hundreds of thoughts, ideas, images, connotations and emotions flooding your mind and being, but hang in there with me.

I simply want to pose questions and problems I have with the “reform” that is being proposed, from a college student’s perspective. Let me say up front that, relative to most other college students, I consider myself informed, but nowhere near an expert in politics. For this, I thank God.  My relative little knowledge of intricate and opaque government processes doesn’t invalidate my opinions and beliefs about the underlying issues that make President Obama’s proposed plan for healthcare reform a threat to the fiber of everything this country was established upon.

I am simply an American young adult who wants my future children to enjoy the freedoms and liberties my great grandfather and millions of men before him have fought to maintain.  I want the right to choose what is best for myself and to have a competitive marketplace from which to select my healthcare provider. If government-run healthcare, eloquently disguised as reform, is signed into law, it will be another of many steps towards the end of the United States as our ancestors and we have known it.

Total takeover
Implementing a government-run healthcare system would result in a complete takeover of the private healthcare sector. If you doubt this, put yourselves in the shoes of a small business owner. If Uncle Sam offers a service for free, why would you, though you be the warmest hearted boss there is, pay huge costs in a difficult economy to provide your employees with private healthcare.

Congressman Mike Pence said, “Should this government create a government-run insurance option, that government option would compete with the private sector the way an alligator competes with a duck.”
There’s no employer in America who’s not going to sit their employees down for a serious “look we love you but we have to pay the light bill” talk. Multiply that situation by the thousands of employers who provide their employees with private insurance options, and you have a bunch of insurers with no one to insure. But Obamacare” has their back. Or so they think.

Common sense should now be telling you that if the U.S. government introduces insurance to compete with the private sector, millions of Americans will lose their private healthcare. Tens of millions will be relegated to the new program, which, I might add, is going to cost almost a TRILLION dollars. I don’t even know how to fathom a trillion dollars.
I could choose to be against it for that reason alone. I do not approve of my government spending mammoth amounts of money to provide me with worse care, less-skilled doctors, and longer lines. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Shooting ourselves in the foot
The Department of Motor Vehicles. Full parking lots, long lines, lots of hoops for us to improve our jumping skills, and tons of sweaty, stinky people. Just a few of the things that make the DMV a slightly less horrific manifestation of hell. Oh! And it’s only a car ride away. The DMV is a government-run service. Common sense should be telling you the same principles apply to health insurance. The only two ways to keep costs down are 1: Competition and 2: Rationing. That’s it. Just two. After government-run healthcare creates a monopoly on insurance, there will be rationing. You can bet your pretty pacemaker there will. But I wouldn’t recommend it.

A woman who was 100-year-old woman, at the time, was in extraordinary health, but needed a pacemaker to continue her living with a high quality of life. Her doctor told her she needed it, called a specialist, and requested the operation. Although the specialist was skeptical at first, after examining the women himself he determined she was an excellent candidate.  This scenario was presented to President Obama by the woman’s daughter, Jane Sturm. She asked Obama, “Would my mother be able to have a pacemaker under your reforms?”
At the end of a long-winded answer, void of any real content, Obama threw in the comment, “And it may mean, that instead of some sort of surgical procedure, we give your mother some painkillers.”
PAINKILLERS?! You have got to be kidding me. You’d think with a close relative who died so recently, you might think a little closer to home. But this clearly demonstrates the kind of reality we would all be faced with if any of us or our loved ones needed an expensive surgical procedure. Your options are now limited, and the government is your advocate. “The man” is your go-to guy. Frankly, to me, nothing sounds worse.
I want my doctor and my family to be my advocates, not the government.

A note from the professionals:  (Excerpts from the following links)

Proof that our two examples of government-run care are failing
“Since 1970, Medicare and Medicaid’s combined per-patient costs have risen from $344 to $8,955, while the combined per-patient costs of all other US health care have risen from $364 to $7,119.
President Obama says we must expand government-run health care to contain costs and that we don’t have a minute to lose. But nearly 40 years of evidence shows that government-run care has succeeded only in raising costs.”

Is your life with the government’s money? Let’s do a quick math problem to find out
Patients Lose the Right To Decide What Treatment They’ll Receive. Instead, patients receive whatever care politicians and bureaucratic number crunchers decide is “cost effective.” Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence usually won’t approve a medical procedure or medicine unless its cost, divided by the number of quality-adjusted life years that it will give a patient, is no more than what it values a year of life in great health – £30,000 (about $44,820). So if you want a medical procedure that is expected to extend your life by four years but it costs $40,000 and bureaucrats decide that it will improve the quality of your life by 0.2 (death is zero, 1.0 is best possible health, and negative values can be assigned), you’re out of luck because $40,000 divided by 0.8 (4 X 0.2) is $50,000.”

No dilemma here: Gov’t choosing evil over good
“During an economic downturn in which we are already running higher budget deficits than at the height of the Great Depression (even as a percentage of our gross domestic product), wishful thinking and empty rhetoric shouldn’t be allowed to trump empirical evidence.
The empirical evidence is in, and the verdict could hardly be plainer: Government-run health care limits choice and is more expensive. Privately purchased care offers choice and is more affordable.”

Jeffery Anderson says it best: “Only the federal government could struggle to choose between these two alternatives.”

For these reasons, I refuse to support a plan that gives me less power over my own well-being and the government more. I don’t want the government looking out for me or providing me healthcare, or a rebate on my car, or keeping less-than-upright corporations running. All of these dependencies give more power to the few and encourage a tyrannical government.

There is no happiness without liberty.


10 responses to “A college student’s take on healthcare reform

  1. Oh my gosh, Haley.

    (a) you are a very gifted writer. I love all your stuff.
    (b) please don’t be shy or timid about publishing your stuff and getting it out there. freedom of speech is about our only hope for saving whatever shred of democracy we have left.

  2. Great article. Keep writing.

  3. dece

  4. Haley, the link to the video re. the Obama/Sturm exchange is an edited version that cuts out over 2 mins. The full clip is on You Tube & adds important context, namely that decisions by medical managers are already being made about what care and procedures will be allowed. Whether it’s medicare or private insurance someone other than the doctor decides what will be paid for. Do you think that private insurance companies who are in the business of making money are more compassionate with these decisions? I don’t.

    • Pat, thanks for your input– when I searched I couldn’t find the original video, unedited, so thanks for the tip. As for compassion, my real concern is when any one “company” (ie- the government) has a monopoly on the market. When a monopoly occurs, competition decreases. With less competition for business, compassion becomes irrelevant because there’s nothing driving companies to provide better services or prices. I believe America’s healthcare system needs more transparency and actual reform, but I don’t think nationalizing healthcare will solve any of the problems we are seeing today.

  5. As a brand new business owner. Laid off the 15th of May after 21 years plus with one employer. I decided to start a company, I am struggling but I think I’ll make it. Relavance to health care?
    Just with current taxes paid myself $2750.00 for a months wages.
    My company will submit the taxes.. The ones they withhold from me and the worker (you)
    Right now taxelibilty are $1220.94 to the end of July on my income of $688 a week.

  6. Good writings! Now to get down to the meat and potatoes of what you said 🙂

    I think some of your concerns (fears) border on paranoia of government conspiracy.

    Most of your concerns are national conservative (or insurance company) based fears which are driven from profit not whats best for the people of this country.

    A few questions to your raised concerns.

    Why would a government option eliminate all private insurance companies? In my opinion (and the opinion of the President) this will introduce more competition to the market. It will force insurance company accountability. But as any good business would do, they will adjust their rates and profit margins to maintain a healthy balance in the market place and keep a competitive balance.

    Comparing the DMV to Hospitals doesn’t seem like a fair comparison of services. You chose a service that has no competition, it is what it is. There is no reason why a person would not be able to choose the doctor of their choosing. Also, with the current private system, this is the case, if a doctor isn’t covered under your plan then you can’t go see them. Or if a procedure isn’t covered, you can’t have assistance. This is part of a broken system that needs reform.

    Why would a doctor provide worse care for a patient? You seem to imply or say that if the government starts providing the ability to pay for services that those services will be lessened. There is no reason that this would be the case. A doctor regardless of who is paying the bill should offer the best care possible.

    ” ‘Since 1970, Medicare and Medicaid’s combined per-patient costs have risen from $344 to $8,955, while the combined per-patient costs of all other US health care have risen from $364 to $7,119…’ ”
    Logically if more people are on these plans because of lack of insurance (provided from private companies) the cost is going to rise. I think these stats almost are more supportive of establishing a government based insurance to keep these programs costs down because more will be covered.

    Just some thoughts. Good article, you are very fired up about it 🙂

  7. Out of interest, have you watched Mike Moore’s film “Sicko”? I think it offers an interesting perspective on the issues you are raising.

  8. I think this was great. Being in college does make it tough to stay informed sometimes, but you made some great observations and seem to be paying close attention to what’s going on, and that’s more than a lot of your classmates can probably say!

    Thanks so much for posting this; I really enjoyed reading it!

  9. >> Haley, it’s good to see that among all the zombie-like college students who follow any dim-witted idea, there are some who garner good common-sense on campus. You are on point with your thoughts on this healthcare reform bill. It amazes me that most college students want less government in their life but on this they want more.
    >> Brett, you ask, “Why would a government option eliminate all private insurance companies?” Answer is, the government has no care for losing money, it’s not theirs, it’s ours. Just as the government did with the postal service, they have lower prices compared to FEDEX or UPS but they our losing millions of dollars per day, add that with sub-par services, the USPS should have gone out of business. Same with government-run hospitals, most are in the red due to blind spending and have you been to the VA and/or any county hospital, I have and it isn’t no picnic. Just imagine that on a larger scale. So you may be right, private insurance companies may not be eliminated, Americans will just have to pay higher taxes on top of paying for a healthcare plan that is sub-par and. The bail-out for government waste is higher taxes to the masses.
    And your statement that puts an exclamation on why the government shouldn’t run healthcare is, “But as any good business would do, they will adjust their rates and profit margins to maintain a healthy balance in the market place and keep a competitive balance.” Since when have you known the government to adjust its cost or to manage funds to keep from adding to the deficit, they have proven to waste more than the biggest corporate losers? Good debate.

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