The Old Man On The Mountain

A View From the Backwoods of NH

What About Healthcare

Why is it that we consider telephone and electric “necessities” that are regulated to prevent price gouging and to ensure that everyone can afford them, yet we don’t bat an eye about healthcare? Am I missing something here? I’m pretty sure that without health, everything else is moot. Early in my lifetime, hospital stays were affordable for the common man and doctors made house calls. So what happened?

To me, there are two things that stick out – malpractice and “for profit”. I believe in malpractice, to the extent that you should perform your job with the utmost quality and efficiency, and if you don’t then you are liable for your actions. I don’t think anyone would want nuclear workers “just going in for a paycheck”, and no one wants doctors like that either. Both are specially trained to ensure minimal damage, and when they don’t live up to that expectation, people die.

Sadly, you see, “anything” that goes wrong for a doctor is a potential law suit here in America. And doctors, after all, are human and as such prone to make mistakes. So, in step insurance companies with astronomical rates for malpractice insurance and up go the costs – reflected back to each of us. If we, as a country, could set a standard for what is and isn’t malpractice, as well as honestly weed out all those medical professionals that should not have a license to practice, then the costs for all would go down.

The next issue is one that really confuses me – “for profit” healthcare. What kind of people (or nation) wish to make a profit off of someone’s misfortune (excluding big oil)? Now, granted, back when medical costs were rising at rapid rate, big business stepped in with their “for profit” fix – HMO’s. And initially, HMO’s brought costs back in line with what was considered acceptable, while doing away with all the frills – much like eating in a cafeteria instead of a restaurant.

However, (using the cafeteria/restaurant analogy) as time went on, restaurants disappeared and cafeterias began charging the same, if not more, than restaurants (remember, this is “for profit” now and investors always want more). As for the service – well, if it wasn’t “get it yourself”, the number of surly individuals that you came across (mostly because they were overworked and under paid) grew. Medical and Hospital administrators subscribe to the same principles as big business – to see bigger profits you downsize the workforce.

We’ve all seen this – either at work (where you work twice as hard while going through “pay freezes”) or out in the world (try to find a Sears employee on the floor). And we all know what happens – you can only spread yourself so thin before things start to go in a downward spiral. And in healthcare that means only one thing – malpractice – and zoom, up go OUR costs.

As I said at the start, healthcare should be non-profit and regulated. As much as I hate to see anything controlled by the government, when free enterprise can’t control it’s own, it’s time for someone new to take over. Besides, the government is the biggest healthcare provider in the country. And sure, medicare’s a mess (I speak from experience here), but why not dedicate all the resources needed to reign in healthcare in general and focus them on a system that’s already built? Modifying what doesn’t work and improving what does, creating a standard for healthcare in the US.

It won’t be easy, and it won’t be quick, but at least it’s a start. Because healthcare should be a right of the citizens of America – just like freedom of speech. How can we, as a nation, be so lax in providing something that others already have? How can we be so slow to provide this basic human right? You can’t “Make America Great” without it.

And I’m not talking about Obamacare-throw-money-at-it-to-make-it-go-away (costs keep rising and we drain the bank trying to keep up – that’s not a fix, that’s a fool’s mission). And I’m not talking about what the Conservative Party proposes (when I see those idiots on the same plan as me then maybe I’ll listen). I’m talking about non-profit, medicare-for-all healthcare. With systems in place to prevent what we have now – people making big profits off of other people’s misery.