Dr. Alan Preston Offers Perspective to Previous Post on This Blog

In the article “Health Insurers, Drug-makers Oppose Repeal of Obama Healthcare Overhaul”, the title suggest that health insurers and drug makers love what is in the bill.  That is not an accurate representation for anyone who has come to that conclusion.  If you pay me a million dollars next week, and in doing so, you bankrupt my neighbors and friends, I may recognize the damage you are doing around me; however, I benefit so much financially, I would never want you to reverse your course.  Therein is the issue with this reform bill.  It will benefit a few and benefit them substantially at the unsustainable level of the many.  Those who benefit are not for the reform bill per se, they are for the financial windfall it may create for them.

I would love the government to create a program that requires all Americans to have an insurance policy that guarantees that when you buy my product, someone else will pay the bill and eliminate any likelihood that I will ever have bad debt.  That would be a tremendous benefit to me. I would also get very rich in the process even if it did hurt many people along the way. And as long as I am doing well, why do I care if others are harmed in the process?

Well, we need to care.  It is ok for individuals to benefit at a greater or lesser level than others but it shouldn’t be that I benefit at your expense or demise. Somehow, that just doesn’t resonate with me. 

How does a government benefit by having this reform in place?  Well for some, the ideology is that it will benefit those who cannot afford health insurance and then allow the same individuals to access their healthcare needs for free.  Medicaid programs provide such a safety net now and states are struggling how to continue to finance this program.

 Providers that care for these people complain that they do not get enough from the government and want more.  They seem to forget that if the tax payers did not support the Medicaid program, they would receive little to nothing from the person obtaining their service.  Since doctors are considered “rich” under the Obama administration, the desire is to tax them more so we can pay for programs like Medicaid which will provide free care to the poor and continues to provide a financial benefit to the doctors.

The other political ideology is that the government should run healthcare and anything the government can do to destroy the private insurance system will make people believe that they need to depend on the government for insurance solutions. This way, those in power can stay in power because they will try to convince people, through scare tactics, that if the party that brought you the benefit must stay in power or you will lose the benefit by switching parties.

 That ideological thinking suggest that all business is greedy and they exist to benefit the business to the exclusion of all others. They think the government is about the people helping the unfortunate by going after all the greedy businesses and greedy “rich” people in society and punishing them for their “greed” by taxing them more and wiping them out (i.e. insurance companies) though policy like Obamacare. This way, there is an appropriate balance in society and the rich can never get too rich and the poor never have to suffer too much.  Unfortunately, those who think that way really do not understand how a business works or how a society is motivated to create solutions. 

The article says  “The (healthcare) system is broken now …,” said Fowler, the policy deputy director at HHS’ newly formed consumer and insurance office. “We may tweak (the law), but overall it is a very positive direction forward.”  Statements like these are designed to pull on emotional strings of people.  Our system is far from broken.  We have a quality healthcare system.  Most heads of state around the world come to the US when there is a need for serious healthcare.  Would they come here if the system was broken?

 The system costs a lot and if that is the definition of a broken system, then Obamacare is going in the wrong direction.  It adds to the costs of health insurance.  Taxing the healthcare supply chain and mandating additional benefits will have to be paid for by the users and they will see premiums go up to pay for the additional benefits and pay for the increase in drugs and medical devices due to the added taxes of such. If cost is the reason it is broken, then Obamacare just added to the costs and broke it even more. In addition to the increased direct costs in the form of insurance premiums, there are other costs to consumers; increased taxes to pay for all of the subsidized care and that will not be cheap.

 Dr. Alan M. Preston

Alan M. Preston, MHA, Sc.D.

   Healthcare Policy, Biostatistics, Epidemiology

Editor’s Note: Dr. Preston can be reach via email at Alan@HealthPolicy.co .