LETTER: Government run health care destroyed Finland, healthcare not a ‘right’

Everybody on the left is talking about how great Bernie Sanders’ new Medicare for All plan would be for this country. They conveniently forget that single payer healthcare — a.k.a. government run health care — is the single reason why the once strong nation of Finland no longer has a federal government because single payer healthcare drove that entire country into bankruptcy.

There are three facts the Democrats ALWAYS leave out of their arguments for government run healthcare.

First, the healthcare system in this country WAS NEVER BROKEN IN THE FIRST PLACE. People who were sick got the healthcare they needed. It was illegal for hospitals to turn away anyone who genuinely needed healthcare. The key word here is “genuinely.” Hospitals were not obligated to provide services for elective procedures. They were not obligated to take in and treat people wanting sex change operations, artificial body enhancement (male or female), gastric bypasses, etc. We have long had Medicare and Medicaid so that everyone had access to necessary healthcare.

Second, health insurance has never been “unreachable” for most Americans, as the Democrats want you to believe. The majority of employers in the U.S. offer employees some sort of health insurance or the opportunity to buy into a group insurance plan at a greatly reduced cost. Yes, health insurance, especially for the more comprehensive plans, can be expensive. But countless studies performed by universities, think tanks, government agencies and professional healthcare organizations have consistently shown that virtually every American who did not have health insurance prior to Obamacare did so by choice, not by necessity. They preferred driving vehicles far above their price point. They decided living in homes above their means was more important than their physical well-being. They own expensive cell phones with unlimited data plans, as well as large screen high definition televisions fed by cable or Dish or DirectTv. They simply choose personal comfort ant convenience over accepting responsibility for their own healthcare.

Third, and this one is the most important point, is litigation. Healthcare is expensive for ONE reason: malpractice lawsuits that have driven the cost of malpractice insurance up to astronomical levels. Physicians pay anywhere from 10 percent to as much as 45 percent of their annual income for malpractice insurance. When you consider how many doctors a single hospital employs, that $25,000 to $450,000 PER YEAR PER DOCTOR suddenly explains why healthcare is so expensive. Too many people in this country have forgotten that medicine is an imprecise science — hence the term “practicing medicine.” There is no black and white in healthcare. There are best guesses based on experience and what a patient has reported. Sometimes those best guesses are incorrect, or, as is far more often the case, the guess was correct but the illness chose not to respond to the treatment given. Some people have chosen to use these unfortunate instances as a way to get rich quick, even though everyone involved — including the physician — suffered.

There really is a way to make healthcare in the U.S. affordable for all. Place caps on malpractice lawsuits and limits on how they can be used (millions of dollars for a big toe lost because of unforeseen infection resulting from an ingrown toenail treatment is ridiculous). Make people pay for their healthcare…..if you go to the doctor, you either pay cash or you have personally purchased insurance to cover the cost or you only get access to the most basic, life-saving services. If you are absolutely unable to afford any kind of insurance due to abject poverty (which would be less than five percent of Americans if the U.S. Census data in correct), then Medicaid or Medicare kicks in.

Holding people responsible and accountable is the answer, as it always is in free societies and republics such as that in which we live.

Oh, and so we’re clear on the idea of healthcare being a “Right,” no Right can exist that costs money, and no Right can require the services of another human being.

 

Ray Baltes