Friday, June 22, 2012

"We Do These Things..."

The blog Newshoggers is a big fan of “health care reform” and occasionally posts a compendium of articles regarding improvements in health care which claim to be a result of that legislation. I, as you know by now, am somewhat less of a fan and never use the term without putting it into quotes. It’s my own private little revolution.

All of the things that John Ballard touts are well and good, but they do not address one fundamental fact: when it was time to address “health care reform” a choice had to be made between changing the manner in which health care is delivered in this nation and expanding health insurance coverage. We took the easier, and less effective path.

When John F. Kennedy challenged this nation to put a man on the moon within a decade he said, “We choose to do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” He believed in a nation that not only could do hard things, but was willing to do them.

Changing the manner of delivery for health care would have been hard or, as President Obama said of “single payer,” it would have been “too disruptive.” We are a nation, today, that is not willing to tackle the hard task; that is not willing to embrace a better way if it is “disruptive.”

And so instead of fundamentally changing a bad system, we merely extended the system to include more people. As a sop to those of us who would be outraged by the choice, it threw in tidbits to tinker around the edges of cost, but it will do nothing whatever about the fundamental cost drivers of health care delivery, and as such will make no substantial inroads into the excessive cost of the system. Doctors will continue to make seven figure incomes, drug companies will continue to be predators, hospital corporations will continue to pillage the economy, and excessive amounts of medical equipment and supplies will continue to be manufactured and sold. "Health care reform" did nothing, nothing, to address any of that.

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