Why The Rush, Mr. President?
Wednesday - July 29, 2009
There are certain topics that cause eyes to glaze over, fidgeting in seats and relentless checking of watches. To the average American, one would prefer to have salt rubbed into a paper cut while listening to gangsta rap.
So, I want to warn you that healthcare reform is the topic of this column.
I understand if you want to turn the page to read Weird News, because there is nothing funny about the proposals being advanced by the Obama administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress.
One of the most dangerous statements in politics is, “Well, we have to do something!” Unfortunately, this mantra is more about expedient justification rather than substance.
Is there a voice of unanimity among Americans to change the way we are doing our healthcare business? Contrary to the mechanical statements coming from the Obama-Pelosi-Reid triumverate that there is, the answer is no.
Sure, there are elements that can be improved. But to have the government administer, hyper-regulate and supersede physician recommendations is not what most Americans want.
There are a couple of fundamental questions that need to be answered.
First, is access to health-care a right?
Second, should there be a complete overhaul of our present system?
The invocation of “rights” can be applied to virtually any situation. So what is the final arbiter of what is a “right”? I defer to the Declaration of Independence that provides for the unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I agree with Leonard Peikoff, who opined during the HillaryCare debate that there are rights to action, but not to the rewards from other people. You have the right to pursue happiness, but you do not have the right for someone else to pay for your trip to Vegas (unless it’s a voluntary action). Conversely, you have the right to pursue your choice of health insurance and not be mandated to a particular government-controlled system.
No. We do not need a complete revamping of our present healthcare system as envisioned by Obama-Pelosi-Reid, especially at the estimated cost to Americans. However, there are improvements to be made.
Why is there a lack of focus on issues such as tort reform, malpractice insurance regulation, speed of reimbursements and enforcement of existing law?
Why is there a lack of reporting on where the money is coming from to pay for the $1 trillion plus price tag?
Why is there such a rush to push this reform plan through Congress before the August recess?
President Obama’s press conference last Wednesday did not provide any specifics regarding this issue. Yes, there was flowery rhetoric regarding security, stability and access. But what about the loss of control on treatment decisions, increase in healthcare premiums, government housing of personal health records, reduction in pay for doctors and prescription expenses? Yet, we are being asked to buy into the most massive shift from private to government healthcare control ever.
Obama shared a scenario where he himself speculated on the proper healthcare of a child with a repetitive sore throat. In order to bolster his position, he intimated that because of a higher reimbursement, the doctor would order a tonsillectomy because he could bill more than recommending alternative treatment. It was unsettling to have the president infer that physicians sell out their patients for cash, but what was more disturbing was listening to a lawyer assume his medical opinion supersedes that of a trained physician.
It was a troubling glimpse into a future where Washington, D.C., replaces Marcus Welby, M.D.
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