Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Since when did "it's broken" become "we need to make it worse"?

There's something which has been bothering me about the whole way Obama is phrasing the discussion about health care nationalization ("reform"), aside from his normal rhetoric strategies which continue to aggravate me (such as saying one thing, and doing the exact opposite). Over and over, I hear from the Obamanation that the health care system "is broken", and we need to "fix" it. You know what? I agree with the first part: the health care system does appear to be broken and unsustainable, and I agree with most of the reasons why. Although I'm not sure we "need" to fix it (any more than we need to fix other unfunded entitlement programs left over from historically destructive administrations, such as Social Security), I do agree with a lot of the arguments for why we might want to.

For example, escalating costs of medicare. That system is bad: its an entitlement program which underpays providers while being underfunded and very inefficient. It's unsustainable, and it needs serious reform to cut the costs, and could also use more free-market competition in the rates it pays, to prevent medical providers from being stifled out of business. On this I agree with Obama.

Also, the current insurance system is somewhat of an aggravating disaster. Billing errors are common, consumer protections are scarce, getting quality care is time-consuming and difficult even for those with means to acquire it, and the common consumer is often trampled on. I agree that this, too, could use some serious reform and consumer-oriented oversight.

Consider, too, medical liability costs. America is an overly litigious society, and medical malpractice insurance costs are enormous as a result. This in turn raises the cost of health care for everyone, and almost exclusively only to the benefit of the lawyers involved in medical cases. This is an area where the government could certainly help, establishing safe-harbors and cutting down on rules, to make it easier for providers to follow the law, and reducing insurance premiums (and thus cost of coverage).

Given all that, you'd think I'd be generally for health care reform... but it turns out I'm not. See, somewhere along the line, all those problems which the president emphasizes and I agree with got transformed (inexplicably) into rationale for making the problem worse! How did that happen?

Obama's plan doesn't cut costs or entitlements; it raises both, creating more unfunded liabilities and bureaucratic waste. It doesn't fix the under-payment of providers; it continues and possibly amplifies it. It doesn't fix consumers getting trampled by private providers; it creates a new provider you have even less recourse with. It doesn't reduce liability costs; it creates an entirely new confusing legal scheme which would increase them. Not only does it not fix any of the problems being used to justify the need for the nationalization initiative, it makes all of them worse!

Seriously, did I miss the societal bulletin where "it's broken" became code for "this problem is not bad enough, we need to make it worse"? Or is Obama just counting on people not realizing how what he's advocating does nothing whatsoever to address the problems cited to justify it? And when/how can we get some actual health care reform, to fix the very real problems with the current system which we all agree upon?


  1. Great points. The problem is not that health care is broken. Debate could rage for eons on that point. The problem is not that we have escalating costs - which we do. The problem is that the far-left wet-dream of socialized medicine is being propped up by any and every reason. I mean, come on, socializing our system will save costs for Americans? Are you kidding me? Such idiocy would have been laughed out of the White House even 2 decades ago. Have we lost our minds?

  2. Nick,

    I love your post. Mine is quite similar. Obama's like a person peddling opium as a cure-all.

  3. A senior Democratic aid was quoted as saying Obama needs to speak out publically on the specifics of what he wants to see in healthcare legislation. I would like to see it too. He admits that he is happy with his current healthcare. So is the vast majority of the country. If he’s just trying to help out the minority, why not do a bill directed at them instead of something marketed as a healthcare overhaul.

    I don’t understand what he and Congress are trying to accomplish, and that gives me a bad feeling that much of what they’re working on is keeping lobbying groups happy.

    It’s a shame that the poor sometimes can’t afford basic healthcare. Obama said he’d spread the wealth around. Healthcare is a great way to do it. I don’t see why that needs an overhaul. It seems like it a tax credit for the poor would be a good start, and it wouldn’t require so much government involvement.

  4. Hope you don't mind that I put this up on my blog....

  5. It's all good... the more people who think about this, the more chance we have of defeating it. I guess if I was trying to make money on my blog I might mind cross-posting, but since I'm doing it purely for self-edification and [hopefully] influencing people to consider the points and which ideas really have merit (vs those which are serving a semi-hidden agenda which I often personally disagree with), copy (with attribution) away. :)

  6. Thanks Nick, I am with you - the driving purpose of my blog is to inform and/or stop the socialist march of our government. I don't mind anyone using my stuff either. Have a great weekend.

  7. Seriously, Nick, this was an awesome post. it got really good response on our blog. We may not always see eye to eye as I have far more "libertarian" leanings, but If we were to meet in the middle and our views of how the country should be were blended, it would be a far better place than it is now.