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Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Obamacare, and What (Else) Is Leading Americans to Revolt
What is wrong in health care reflects what is wrong with our relationship with government as a whole in America today. What is currently in place with Obamacare is a network of government and business elites administering a bloated bureaucracy divvying up dollars we don't have and giving lip service to "helping out the middle-class" by indirectly bankrupting them.
There is an added anchor dragging the health care system down, just like the economy as a whole, caused by the cost of an undocumented alien population and their need for care. On top of all this is a "legal lotto" justice system that lurks in the background, pays little to no attention to the presumed legal contracts between the doctor and the patient, and has a vastly underappreciated cost, just as it does with our entire economy outside of health care. It is no wonder we've become sick and tired of the establishment behind the system.
The Affordable Care Act has placed an estimated 247 new bureaucracies between our tax dollars and our health care. K Street crony capitalists, being what they are, have moved in to capture easy dollars created by these new pay-for-play government entities. The corruption in the system is made manifest by the real cost they add to administering our care with no added value.
When you review your medical bill, the costs are frequently shockingly high, while the ultimate reimbursement to the physicians themselves is often laughably low. Who gets the real money? Americans think the entrenched politicians and their friends in business are the beneficiaries, just like in every other area where government is involved. When so much of the wealth of our country is absorbed into the Washington, D.C. area, it is hard to think otherwise.
The two crony systems currently making a windfall profit through their lobbyists are the insurance companies and the hospital corporations. Obamacare has promised to make good on any losses incurred by Blue Cross, United Health Care, et al. in initiating the health care exchanges. Three years of artificially low risk is good for a company and its stock value – a crony's best outcome. The reason every one of these companies is about to bail out or has already abandoned the system is because these dollars dry up in 2017. We are all waiting to see how the elites cash in on the next permutation of this craziness, because we know they will always come out ahead.
Meanwhile, hospital corporations, who can charge more per "Relative Value Unit" – a complicated source on which the whole current reimbursement system runs – are taking this opportunity to absorb the struggling medical businesses that used to be run by the doctors themselves. Does this lower costs? Of course it doesn't, and it is the corrupt relationship between government and large corporations that allows this to happen.
Doctors, meanwhile, aren't allowed to be doctors anymore because of the hoops that must be jumped through to allow for testing and treatment. Insurance representatives, often uneducated, check the medical records for necessary words and phrases before tests and treatments are allowed. Many are disallowed. A lot also falls on the patient, who must often check up on the denied test to see where to go from here. It is transparently obvious that the insurance companies actually want every party to give up, throw up their hands, and hope they can do without the desired information these abandoned tests would have shown. This keeps down costs and boosts profits. Entrenched elites are well aware of how this helps their bottom line, just as government-sponsored rules and regulations hold down competition in all kinds of businesses.
Similarly, the trend in insurance coverage is for much higher deductibles in the policies obtained by the middle and upper-middle classes. This was a predictable outcome when you know that government is asking us to ignore actuary tables and is outlawing pre-existing conditions costs. Having to come up with $10K before you have any procedure performed is quite the argument against proceeding in that direction. Huge costs are being avoided by this little factor of the equation alone, and this outcome of Obamacare was predictable by these elites as well.
Conversely, we as a country act as if there were unlimited dollars for undocumented aliens. Our hospitals are packed with uninsured and illegal residents getting essentially free cancer treatment, obstetric care, and emergency room evaluation. Just like the actual costs illegals foist on the country by depressing wages and worsening unemployment in America as a whole, the money spent on them and their health is a high-cost loss to American taxpayers, who should be getting the benefits instead. Elites have been playing the open border game for generations, getting cheap labor to pluck their chickens, stock their warehouses, roof their homes, cut their grass, and pick their grapes, meanwhile avoiding insuring them and laughing while their stooges in the government promise to do something about the issue.
Finally, the rule of law and the sanctity of a contract administered and adjudicated by a mature and efficient legal system are essential for any business. Doctors spend a good bit of effort during their time with patients explaining the risks of surgery and other medical procedures. A supposed legally binding contract is signed when this is done. If anything untoward occurs, this contract is essentially worthless. The American legal system in regard to the medical profession is a legal lotto that resembles a slot machine to the network of elites in the legal system and the insurance companies. A good example of this idiocy is exemplified by the "negotiation" of reward, which has nothing to do with reality and nearly everything to do with the size of the doctor's insurance policy. Settlements are made within a few hundred dollars of the maximum the policy allows, because the threat of going to court is so odious to the doctor. As soon as the ink dries on the check, both sides "high five" and grab a drink at the bar while the doctor goes home doubting his choice of career.
Many Americans at a certain stage of their lives, especially if they are trying to run a small business, know that the legal system is geared to benefit those who inhabit the network of elites. They know to avoid the courtroom. Whenever you have the misfortune to have to visit a courtroom in your city, you notice that those who bring along a lawyer are taken to the head of the line. While all the poor shmucks without representation watch in knowing disgust, the lawyer might bring up the fraternity that his son shares with the judge's kid, or the country club they belong to with the latest improvement on the par 3s.
Americans have revolted against the entrenched power brokers in Washington, D.C. by screaming support for those who promise to break up the system. This is why such anti-establishment candidates as Trump and Sanders got traction. There is a wholesale repudiation of those elites standing arm and arm with the entrenched, establishment elected officials telling us what to do while we see their results doom us to lives that are less about Americans succeeding and more about enriching Washington, D.C.
Just like American society as a whole, reliance on free markets, open competition, and removal of wasteful government barriers are the best way to have a good health care system with the possibility of it being more affordable and efficient. But if the corruption is not addressed; if the legal system isn't interested in the rule of law, property rights, and the sanctity of contracts; if the illegal immigrant issue isn't addressed; and if we continue to regulate small business so that big business isn't threatened, Americans should and probably will revolt. We shouldn't put up with Obamacare, just as we shouldn't put up with a government that stifles our freedoms and economic mobility, the latter being the secret to our nation's success and exceptional character.