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August 12, 2019 • 11:59 am

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Thoughts on “Health Care Reform” Print
By CFIF Staff
Thursday, September 17 2009
So what are the proposed solutions, in a situation where about four-fifths of the population are happy enough with their health care and their health care insurance?

Rube Goldberg, the popular cartoonist of the 1920s and 1930s, fascinated and amused a nation by drawing phantasmagorically complex machines, made from all manner of disparate parts, to perform the simplest of tasks.  In Goldberg’s cartoons, no matter how unlikely, his machines worked.

We are not the first to note that our federal government frequently seeks to emulate the complexity of Goldberg machines in legislation, to perform the simplest of tasks, but almost always with the opposite result – failure.  In no legislation ever proposed or enacted – and there have been some doozies in that mastadonian pile – has this ever been more true than it is with regard to the versions of so-called “health care reform” currently circulating.

Why are we in this abominable place, which is on the brink of a beyond-ugly, nationwide emotional and intellectual clash of epic proportions?

We thought we were in this place because even though this country enjoys the best, most advanced and most available health care in the world (and please don’t insult us with irrelevant statistics from Tohereorwhereostan that can’t pass nursery-school logic), we face rising costs, some unfairness in the system (mostly government-caused), government dictates which skew the costs of private health insurance plans, large numbers of uninsured and large numbers of seniors in a government insurance system (Medicare) that is headed toward bankruptcy (mostly government-caused).

So what are the proposed solutions, in a situation where about four-fifths of the population are happy enough with their health care and their health care insurance?

Escalating costs (beyond comprehension if you play the scenarios out down the road, as someone might should have done with Medicare and Social Security in the first place), more unfairness in the system, more taxes, individual, family and employer “mandates,” more forced unfunded mandates on the states (which will force increased state taxes), even more government dictates on private health insurance plans, still large numbers of uninsured and an ever larger number of seniors in a government insurance system (Medicare) that will be cut, forced to ration and still go bankrupt. 

Even that assessment does not encapsulate what any of these schemes will do to decrease the physical supply of medical services and increase the demand for same.  It does not address what are, from all sides, deeply held moral concerns.  It does not address the large numbers of scoundrels, within government and without, who can adeptly game even the most secure system.  It does not address the dirty, gigantic secret of all legislation – how the ensuing regulations are handled by government bureaucracies and how both the legislation and regulations are interpreted by the courts.

So why are we in this abominable place?  Politics, politics, politics and more politics.  Here, tragically, the standard politics of cynicism and deception have been joined by the politics of absurdity and the politics of ignorance, the politics of hubris and the politics of elitism.  What is uniquely missing is the first rule of politics, the mandate to count, to count the wishes of one’s constituency, to calculate the chances of political survival when violating those wishes. 

You wanna count loonies, and make like all who oppose you are loonies; you wanna count racists, and make like all who oppose you are racists?  Go ahead, because that count, ignoring the legitimate  concerns of the vast majority, will take you straight to your political grave.

If seniors are about to be screwed, at least most of them know it, because there is no constituency more politically knowledgeable and active.  But the young, generally those under thirty, don’t yet have a clue how they are about to be screwed – for life. 

We wish there were an ap to explain this, because then they would understand now and react accordingly, before it is too late.  They are going to be forced to take and pay for health insurance, whether they want it or not.  They are going to be forced to take and pay for the health insurance that the government says they must take.  If they do not, they will be fined.  For many, it will be their first  up-close-and-personal taste of the Big Government that they have been taught to love.  We shall welcome their conversion to conservatism, but wish that wouldn’t require such a gut-punch of a lesson.

There is another way out of this mess, for the emotional, intellectual, political and economic well-being of the country.  A key element of Rube Goldberg’s best machines was the toilet plunger, a simple tool for a simple job.  Take one to “health care reform” now, and let’s start over, trying to accomplish realistic goals with realistic plans that do not require the out-of-control social and political upheaval to which we are now headed.


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