Is the US healthcare system really broken?

The error the Republicans have made on the issue of healthcare is not that they haven't vigorously opposed the Democrats and the President, nor is it that the Republicans have failed to provide a "vision" or alternative plan of their own. The Republicans mistake is in having adopted the Democrats statement of the problem being healthcare itself.

How many times have we heard the Republicans, even the newest Senator, express agreement with the proposition that "the healthcare system is broken?"

By accepting the Democrat's definition of the issue uncritically the Republicans have, they permitted their opposition to frame the debate and to define the battle space.

But the initial question has not been asked. Is the American health care system broken? By skipping over the question and assuming the result have the Democrats created a "crisis" where none exists and have the Republicans missed the point?

Let's check out a few things.

First, the health care system in the US is widely agreed to be the best in the world. In fact, even people in urgent need, lacking either the ability to pay or the insurance to cover the cost are, indeed must, be provided medical care regardless of expense. There are not long waits for care, unless in a crowded emergency room, where experience shows almost four-hour round trips to be the average. (See here .)

MRIs are given routinely as needed as opposed to other countries where month's long waits are the norm. The government of Canada is targeting 28 days !

Second, the illegal immigration problem has had a large impact on the demand for medical care specifically emergency services. According to the "Report to Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty The Impact of Illegal Immigration on Minnesota" authored by the Office of Strategic Planning & Results Management, Minnesota Department of Administration, "A report by the Center for Immigration Studies, using 2004 data, found that 65% of illegal immigrants are uninsured. In contrast, fewer than 13% of US natives and their children are uninsured." (See here .)

Minnesota is not exactly a hotbed of illegal immigration. The impact elsewhere is certainly much greater.

Third, the impact of unrestrained medical malpractice claims and verdicts amounts to about 2% of healthcare costs. A report of the Congressional Budget Office details the effects of runaway medical malpractice claims on costs of medical care and, although it concludes the effects are not huge insofar as the overall cost, it is worth noting that two percent of one trillion dollars is a paltry twenty (20) billion dollars. What was it I learned? Oh yes, a penny saved is a penny earned.

Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are likely to do anything to correct the "problems" with the healthcare system because they are not correctly analyzing the source of the perceived deficiencies.

If a problem, any problem, is not correctly defined no resolution is possible.
The error the Republicans have made on the issue of healthcare is not that they haven't vigorously opposed the Democrats and the President, nor is it that the Republicans have failed to provide a "vision" or alternative plan of their own. The Republicans mistake is in having adopted the Democrats statement of the problem being healthcare itself.

How many times have we heard the Republicans, even the newest Senator, express agreement with the proposition that "the healthcare system is broken?"

By accepting the Democrat's definition of the issue uncritically the Republicans have, they permitted their opposition to frame the debate and to define the battle space.

But the initial question has not been asked. Is the American health care system broken? By skipping over the question and assuming the result have the Democrats created a "crisis" where none exists and have the Republicans missed the point?

Let's check out a few things.

First, the health care system in the US is widely agreed to be the best in the world. In fact, even people in urgent need, lacking either the ability to pay or the insurance to cover the cost are, indeed must, be provided medical care regardless of expense. There are not long waits for care, unless in a crowded emergency room, where experience shows almost four-hour round trips to be the average. (See here .)

MRIs are given routinely as needed as opposed to other countries where month's long waits are the norm. The government of Canada is targeting 28 days !

Second, the illegal immigration problem has had a large impact on the demand for medical care specifically emergency services. According to the "Report to Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty The Impact of Illegal Immigration on Minnesota" authored by the Office of Strategic Planning & Results Management, Minnesota Department of Administration, "A report by the Center for Immigration Studies, using 2004 data, found that 65% of illegal immigrants are uninsured. In contrast, fewer than 13% of US natives and their children are uninsured." (See here .)

Minnesota is not exactly a hotbed of illegal immigration. The impact elsewhere is certainly much greater.

Third, the impact of unrestrained medical malpractice claims and verdicts amounts to about 2% of healthcare costs. A report of the Congressional Budget Office details the effects of runaway medical malpractice claims on costs of medical care and, although it concludes the effects are not huge insofar as the overall cost, it is worth noting that two percent of one trillion dollars is a paltry twenty (20) billion dollars. What was it I learned? Oh yes, a penny saved is a penny earned.

Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are likely to do anything to correct the "problems" with the healthcare system because they are not correctly analyzing the source of the perceived deficiencies.

If a problem, any problem, is not correctly defined no resolution is possible.