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FROM THE EDITOR
Fixing the Healthcare Problem
J.R. Dieckmann

Democrats and some Republicans seem to be trying to make government run healthcare the major issue for voters to consider in the coming elections. The only real reason for this trend is the candidacy of Mrs. Clinton whose only real issue is socialized healthcare. Her agenda is total socialism, if not Communism, but healthcare is the only issue she can get away with promoting publicly.

"It's all about the children," she says, "We have to provide healthcare for the low income children." Mrs. Clinton's idea of "low income children" is a 24 year old living at home with a family income of up to $80,000.00 annually. Obviously, this is not about the children. It's about government control over your healthcare in the hands of politicians who won't stop until they have control over every aspect of your life.

It is neither the job, nor the constitutional duty of the federal government to provide for the people. That is what communist governments do. The job of providing for the people in America is reserved to individual initiative and the free enterprise system. It is the job of the federal government to deal with issues of national and international interests on behalf of it's citizens. This includes national security; defending the borders; building interstate highways; providing postal service; a court system; etc. It does not include providing healthcare and other social services except for military veterans.

Why does our Constitution not authorize our government to provide these services? Because in America we have two things that are specifically designed to do that: The free enterprise system, and charities. The government is not authorized by the Constitution to compete with either of these, nor is it necessary. Living in America means accepting personal responsibility and taking advantage of the free enterprise system to provide for yourself and your family. That is what America is all about and what separates it from other countries and makes it special to be an American.

The job of caring for the children belongs to the parents of those children, not the government nor the taxpayers. That is the responsibility you are expected to take on when you make babies. The working plan of these Socialists and Communists running the Democrat Party today is to destroy the family and replace it with government regulations and services at the wage earners' expense. "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good," says Mrs. Clinton. What she wants to take away from you is your freedom, your liberty, and your money.

The greatest danger to Americans today

Americans today are living in very dangerous times. Not only from the threat of Islamic terrorism, but even more so from the threat posed by the Commie/Socialists currently in control the Democrat party and under the financial thumb of George Soros. The only reason Democrats can now outspend Republicans in campaigning is the millions upon millions of dollars Soros is pouring into left wing causes that ultimately end up in the campaigns. Soros owns the Democrat party and they know it. If Soros wants socialized medicine in America then let him pay for it. He can afford it better than we can. Government run healthcare is just another tool Soros and the Democrats are using to usher in socialism in America. Communists weren't defeated with the fall of the USSR, they simply went underground then popped up here in America and hijacked the Democrat Party.

Not everyone can afford a Ferrari

The real problem with healthcare is not how do we pay for it, but the high cost itself. I hear politicians offering all kinds of ideas on how to pay for healthcare, but I don’t see any of them addressing the root of the problem, the high costs. In that respect, I would like to make a few suggestions. I am not a health expert or an economist, but some things just make good common sense.

No one, except Michael Moore, disputes the fact that we have the best healthcare in the world. The problem is that not everyone can afford the best healthcare in the world, just like not everyone can afford a Ferrari. Most Americans don’t even need the best healthcare in the world, just a good family physician. Why should we all have to pay for a Ferrari just so that a few can drive one?

In my business as an electrician, a customer will occasionally ask me “Is it possible to do this, or that?” I tell them that anything is possible, it’s just a matter of cost. It’s the same with the medical industry which has by now made almost anything possible with human health except a cure for the common cold. That is something they will never do because there is too much money to be made in cold remedies that treat the symptoms but don‘t cure the cold.

But the technical and medical advances in medicine come with a high cost and it is mostly the insurance companies that pay that cost. Those costs are then passed on to the policy holders in the form of higher premiums. The average person might see a doctor once or maybe twice a year but ends up paying thousands of dollars for those few visits. There has to be a better way.

Get the lawyers out of the equation

One of the major costs of healthcare today is lawsuits against doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies who are usually guilty of nothing more than an occasional human error. In some cases, drug companies have been guilty of gross negligence with their products and should be made to pay the price for it. But as is the case with any industry, it is the consumer who ultimately pays that price and the company looses nothing. There may be nothing we can do about those companies other than to sue them to try keep them honest, but doctors and hospitals are a different story.

Doctors and hospitals are forced to pay astronomically high insurance rates for malpractice protection and those costs are passed along to the consumer in medical bills. I propose a ban on all malpractice lawsuits. Instead of taking complaints to a lawyer those complaints should be taken to the American Medical Association. The AMA would then investigate the claim and hold the accused doctor’s license in jeopardy. Why should we all have to pay the costs of making some lawyer and client rich for a doctor’s mistake?

Doctor accountability could include temporary suspension of the license for minor offenses and permanent suspension of license for gross negligence. Doctors would be held accountable for their practices but would not need to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for malpractice insurance. They will not take unnecessary chances with their patient’s health if their license to practice is at stake. Their rates to the patients could then be lowered. We have to stop supporting the legal profession and court award winners with our medical bills.

Due to the threat of frivolous malpractice lawsuits, doctors now order excessive tests on patients just to cover themselves. They know many of these expensive tests are not needed but if sued, they may come in handy in court. As long as they are not held accountable to the patient for the billing amount, the costs will be run up and paid by an insurance company or the government, further raising the cost of healthcare. They have no reason to consider the costs of their services as long as someone else with unlimited funds is paying the bill. They do have to consider every expensive service available to that patient just to cover themselves in court.

Get the government out of the healthcare business

Government involvement in payments for medical services is a guarantee of grossly inflated healthcare costs. Medical professionals and hospitals will bill the government for unreasonably high charges knowing that the bill will be scrutinized by nothing more than a government employee clerk. It’s a guarantee that highly inflated billings will be paid without question. Not only is that money paid by us taxpayers, but it sets a precedent that is also used on insurance companies which then have to pay inflated rates as well. Again, the policy holder gets screwed.

If the government pays $200 for a hammer and $800 for a toilet seat without batting an eye, how much do you think they will pay for an appendectomy or to set a broken arm? Since government has become involved in healthcare, the costs of healthcare have skyrocketed. “Free healthcare” just means getting someone else to pay for it, and you pay for theirs but are never allowed to see the bill. Anytime the word “free” is applied to a product or service it’s a joke and the joke is on you. “Free” simply means the cost to you is hidden somewhere else unless you happen to be an illegal alien.

Restructuring health insurance

With the initiation of the forgoing, medical costs can be drastically reduced but there is more we can do. Restructuring medical insurance to be more like auto insurance would make it more affordable. You get what you pay for. If you want only minimal coverage then you should have that option. Why should everyone have to pay for the Ferrari when only a few will drive it?

Your medical insurance should be offered as a list of electives. If you want transplant surgery on your policy, then elect it. If you want basic general surgery coverage, elect that. If you only want basic family physician coverage, then elect that. Basic coverage could also include limited visits to specialists. Visits to hospital emergency rooms would be limited to perhaps one per year per person on the basic policy and hospitals would not be obligated to accept emergency patients unless someone was responsible for the bill. That could be either the insurance company or the individual. If you want more emergency insurance coverage then elect it and pay for it.

Or perhaps coverage could be bought by the dollar amount like life insurance. How about $100 per month for $20,000 of coverage, $500 per month for $100,000 of coverage and use it as you need it? You could purchase as much or as little insurance as you want or can aford. As I said, not everyone will be able to afford the Ferrari of healthcare but not everyone needs it.

The point is that not everyone can afford the “best healthcare system in the world,” nor do they need it. Choose the coverage you want and can afford, and that is what you pay for. If you can’t afford to pay for heart or kidney transplant surgery on your policy, then why should someone else pay for it? Everyone has to die sometime but the medical industry will keep you alive forever at any cost as long as they can get someone to pay for it. As it turns out, that someone is all of us. As a result, many are unable to afford the cost of medical insurance within the present system.

Open neighborhood health clinics

One of our biggest healthcare problems is the abuse of the healthcare system by low and middle income people who simply can’t afford the costs of healthcare. They fill up our multi-million dollar hospital emergency facilities with problems that could just as well be taken care of by a simple country doctor. What we need are more neighborhood health clinics to deal with these problems so that the emergency rooms can be available for real emergency patients.

A tax incentive program could be introduced to doctors to encourage them to open small family health clinics. All doctors could be asked to donate 4 hours a week to these clinics. The doctors could rotate their duty at these clinics thus insuring that one would always be on duty during business hours and without seriously interrupting their normal work week. The rest of the clinic could be staffed with interns and E.M.T.s who wish to donate a little of their time. The only costs would be the expense of maintaining the office building and supplies. The cost of an office visit could be as low as $20.00 paid by the patient out of pocket, but the saving to the healthcare industry and the public would be enormous.

The solution to the healthcare crisis is not in finding ways to pay for the high cost of healthcare, but in making healthcare affordable in the first place. I have suggested just a few examples of how that can be done. I’m sure there are may more things that those in the medical profession could suggest as well. I suppose the problem is in getting politicians to listen and take an interest in real solutions instead of using healthcare as a political issue to gain votes and promote socialism in America.