Medical Care is a Successful and Growing Industry, not a Liability

The people of the United States find themselves in the midst of a severe recession, with unemployment higher than it has been in many years, housing prices cratering, retirement plans collapsing, and their lifestyles constricting. 

The financial industry collapsed.  We had to come to the rescue, pouring our own futures into saving the banks, brokerages, and insurance companies from their own greedy foolishness.  The stagnant American automobile industry was imploding, and the people had to bail them out too, further mortgaging the future of their children. 

Our politicians responded to this catastrophe by spending our future for us, and then by voting a $787 billion dollar "stimulus" bill that has so far produced no discernible improvement, but has flung pork into every corner of the nation, while funding their community organizer and special-interest groups.  The government -- the State -- now effectively owns several giant banks, investment bankers, AIG, and two out the three domestic auto companies that were failing dismally. 

There is still an industry that is growing and successful, that produces 17% of the Gross Domestic Product, and that employs over 10% of all American workers.  The medical industry incorporates more than 820,000 businesses:  hospitals, physician's offices, dentist's offices, home healthcare services, kidney dialysis centers, medical laboratories, X-Ray imaging centers, radiotherapy facilities, mental hospitals, physical therapy centers, nursing homes, outpatient surgical centers, dental laboratories, rehabilitation facilities and ambulance services with combined annual revenue of over $1 trillion.  It immediately plows most its growing income right back into the economy for wages, and directs additional business to  satellite industries such as pharmaceuticals, drugstores, and insurance companies.  It even produces billions of dollars in revenues for the medical malpractice trial lawyers.  Americans medical care costs more than government programs elsewhere, but it provides better care and better results, the best in the world.  American patients, even the destitute, do not give birth in hallways, or wait months for essential diagnostic tests and treatments.

Suddenly, it seems that brisk industrial growth, creation of new technologies, expansion of employment, healing of once-fatal illnesses, prolongation of life, and prevention of pain are not even success, but a just terrible fiscal burden that our overlords deeply resent.   They want that money to spend elsewhere, for monuments to their narcissistic prowess. 

In the medical industry, decades of federal (and state) meddling have unbalanced the supply-demand basis of the free market, while the government has grossly distorted the efficiency of the market by cost-shifting its own obligations onto private-sector buyers.  The premiums that you or your employer pay are partly a concealed tax, to support government programs that fix prices below cost, so that others will have to pay.

Now we are suddenly being told that that there is another "crisis!"  The government must quickly destroy our healthcare system, in order to save it.  Quick, grab $500 billion out of Medicare before those who receive it even notice that their lives are part of the costs.  We can spend it on new government agencies, thousands more government employees, and name it all for a famous liberal politician.

Over 80% of us are happy with our medical care, comfortable with the physicians of our choice, yet we are told that the success of this enormous industry costs too much.  How is it that growing the revenues and the success of the automobile industry is essential and wonderful, while the success of the healthcare industry is a social evil that must be rectified?  To rectify the terrible burden of good healthcare, to control its rising costs, we are further told that we must increase those costs by an additional one trillion dollars!  What is wrong with this picture?!

Without any new legislation, most of us are very satisfied with our own medical care.  Everybody over 65 has excellent healthcare coverage, for which many beneficiaries pay much less than they cost.  Every child under age 18 has guaranteed healthcare coverage too.  And every citizen below the poverty level has access to good basic medical care through the Medicaid program.  Most of those who do not have health insurance have chosen not to have it, even if unwisely, and are implicitly choosing to self-insure their own risks.  Even illegal aliens have ready access to free emergency medical care and obstetric care, usually far better than they would enjoy in their own countries.

Certainly there are aspects of the present medical care process that need to be improved, individual hardships that require creative changes, fraud and waste that must be eliminated.  Shall we permit a successful, growing and productive industry to be destroyed, to be replaced with dozens of new bureaucratic agencies?  Bureaucrats and committees will then choose the care to be made available to you, and there will be no appeal.  Regulators will create a maze of new rules, thousands of pages of regulations, complicated forms, and red tape, for doctors and patients alike.   Long lines, impersonal cattle-car service, rationing, waiting lists, and increased costs are the inevitable result (think DMV, Post Office, $500 toilet seats).  

We must not allow those who are striving to gain power and control over us  -- those who believe they know what is best for free men better than we do ourselves -- to destroy a productive industry and replace it with another tax drain, a giant new pork-package.  This is a time to defend and preserve the prosperity that remains in our economy, not a time for political meddling and more grasping for power.  There is no problem so bad, that Congress cannot make it worse.