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Wednesday, December 11, 2013
UPDATE: Controlling Health Care Costs
How many people do you know who think Barack Obama has the answers to providing health care in America? Or, for that matter, any politician?
Do they really know what should be done?
 
If they don’t, then how about the politicians in Canada, or Great Britain? Have they solved the problem in their societies? 
 
Some people believe they have. However, in England, where the private practice of medicine was outlawed when socialized medicine was first established there,
they were eventually forced to reverse the policy and permit the public to go outside the state system to obtain health care from private physicians. 
 
An October 22 article by columnist James H. Shott (in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph) notes the following problems with the health care system in Canada:
·        “Canada has fewer physicians, hospital beds and diagnostic imaging scanners, and performs fewer medical interventions than in America and Europe.”
·        “Canada has one of the lowest physician-to-population ratios in the developed world.
·        “A recent survey found that Canadians must wait an average of of about four and a half months for medically necessary elective procedures after referral from a general practitioner.”
·        “The wait for diagnostic imaging technologies like MRIs is more than two months on average.”
·        “Patients in Canada are likely to wait two months or more to see a specialist, six days or more to see a doctor when sick or needing care and four hours or more in the emergency room.”
·        “Due to the lengthy waits, about 40,000 Canadians leave the country for treatment elsewhere each year (like the U.S.)”
·        “Public drug plans covered only about a quarter of the new drugs approved for sale in Canada between 2004 and 2010.”
 
Schott concludes, “These realities serve to dismiss the mythical notion that a Canadian-style health care system is highly desirable.”
 
Unfortunately, with Obamacare, America is rapidly moving in the direction of England and Canada.
 
The cause is a devilishly simple principle that is present in all nationalized health care programs. 
That is, it’s free, or so low cost that it’s almost free. 
 
Economics 101 teaches that whenever something is free, the demand quickly becomes unlimited. 
The lower the price, the greater the demand. Give something away that people want and you can “sell” everything you have and more. 
 
However, the flip side of unlimited demand is a shortage of supply, which eventually leads to rationing.
 
That’s what has been wrong with nationalized health care in England, Canada, Germany, Japan and the former USSR, everywhere it has been tried.
 
If politicians do not really know what should be done to solve our health care problems why do we keep expecting them to come up with the answers?
 
What are the problems? Too many uninsured? Too high cost? Poor quality? Lack of availability? All of the above? Do you know, or think you know?
 
What have been the government’s (read politicians’) solutions to date?
 
With the advent of Obamacare, I submit that national health care (socialized medicine) is the health care policy that has now been adopted in this country.
And it is rapidly lowering the quality of the health care we are getting.
 
Talk to any doctor you trust and see if they don’t agree. Many doctors are retiring early because they are fed up with the government and insurance company bureaucrats telling
them how to practice medicine and how much they can charge for their services.There is a growing shortage of doctors, which at some point will turn critical.
 
But, you may say, “we don’t have socialized medicine in America!” No, perhaps not yet, but we’ve been headed that way for a while, and we seem to have been going further down
that path as the years progressed.
 
Obamacare is now attempting to replace the free market in health care with government control and has already resorted to the use of price controls, in addition to telling both doctors
and hospitals what procedures they can and cannot use to treat patients.
 
Price controls have never worked, ever, in any society at any time in history. They were tried as early as 301 A.D. by a Roman emperor, Diocletian (243-316 A,D.),
who implemented price controls under penalty of death. But, it still didn’t work, and it hasn’t worked since.
 
What price controls do is cause shortages, increased costs and disrupted markets.
 
With a national health care plan, at some point many hospitals will either be closed or services curtailed. That has been the pattern in every country that has nationalized health care.
Nonetheless, that seems to be where we are headed.
 
Like the proverbial frog being cooked in cold water, Americans have been gradually becoming aware that the quality of their health care is declining, even as costs are escalating. 
 
When they ultimately realize what has been happening, they will undoubtedly be led into believing government has the answers and demand more government control, regulation and
management. And, our politicians will be only too willing to oblige. 
 
Nationalized health care in America is now rapidly overtaking the free market, and we are all being cooked in the stew of government intervention. So, don’t be surprised at the type
of health care program we get as time progresses.
 
Whatever your own conclusions may be, remember one thing: our politicians won’t have to rely on whatever health care plan they establish for everyone else.
As usual, they will have their own, superior plan.
 
© 2013 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
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