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April 12, 2011
New HHS Plan for Health Redistribution
Can government make all people equally healthy?
The U.S. Health and Human Services Department has announced a new plan aimed at doing precisely that. The HHS "action plan" will allegedly "reduce health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities." A "health disparity" is defined as "a particular type of health difference that is closely linked with social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantage."
While the HHS plan correctly points out that minorities generally suffer poorer health and lower access to good medical care than do white Americans, the plan's "action steps" are wrong-headed out of the starting gate. The solutions rely on Obamacare, which mandates that tens of millions more Americans be ingested into a cost-controlled system which will react to new economic realities. Care providers, pharmaceutical companies, and device manufacturers will compensate for what amounts to government-mandated low to no profits by cutting staff and research. Quality of care will plummet.
In such a brave new world, HHS's dreamt-of reduction in "health disparities" will be achieved, but not simply by improving the health of minorities. Everyone else's health must be degraded.
The HHS plan has five main focal points.
1. Transform Health Care: Action steps include expanding insurance coverage, increasing access to care through development of new service delivery sites and introducing quality initiatives such as increased utilization of medical homes.
2. Strengthen the Nation's Health and Human Services Workforce: Action steps include a new pipeline program for recruiting undergraduates from underserved communities for public health and biomedical sciences careers, expanding and improving health care interpreting and translation, and supporting more training of community health workers, such as promotoras.
3. Advance the Health, Safety and Well-Being of the American People: Action steps include implementing the CDC's new Community Transformation Grants, and additional targeted efforts to achieve improvements in cardiovascular disease, childhood obesity, tobacco-related diseases, maternal and child health, flu and asthma.
4. Advance Scientific Knowledge and Innovation: Action steps include implementing a new health data collection and analysis strategy authorized by the Affordable Care Act, and increasing patient-centered outcomes research.
5. Increase the Efficiency, Transparency and Accountability of HHS Programs: Actions steps include ensuring that assessments of policies and programs on health disparities will become part of all HHS decision-making. Evaluations will measure progress toward reducing health disparities.
The action areas' titles alone drip with Orwellian obfuscation.
1. "Transform Health Care" = Gut and degrade through price controls, profit caps, and bureaucratically-orchestrated care rationing.
2. "Strengthen the Nation's Health and Human Services Workforce" = Increase government involvement, chase away entrepreneurs, and dishearten health care workers who can no longer earn a decent living in the gutted, degraded, price-controlled system.
3. "Advance the Health, Safety and Well-Being of the American People" = Hold back non-minorities so that minorities can catch up.
4. "Advance Scientific Knowledge and Innovation" = Depress profits and retard research.
5. "Increase the Efficiency, Transparency and Accountability of HHS Programs" = Decimate private-sector health care with lavish government "help."
To equalize health profiles across all people, an eminently unachievable and ridiculous goal in the first place, one could imagine ridiculous government idealists focusing on two fantasies:
· Abolish the laws of human behavior and economics and decree through well-intended but worthless actions that the health of all people become identical and good.
· Decrease the health of healthy people in order to bring them down to the level of less healthy people.
In either case, "health disparities" would dwindle. Our federal government has chosen to adopt a delightful combination of both fantasies.
A writer, physicist, and former high tech executive, Chuck Rogér invites you to sign up to receive his "Clear Thinking" blog posts by email at http://www.chuckroger.com/. Contact Chuck at firstname.lastname@example.org.