The ground is shifting under Americans' feet on health care
American health care is not about sick patients and their interactions with doctors and hospitals. Far from it. It is about power and money, with two of the four major players who currently split the loot rapidly losing their future place at the table. The major player, the Democratically run federal government and its entitlement programs, will soon be expanding control from 60% to 95% of our health care. Insurance companies that are funded as an employment benefit will no longer exist with the federal takeover. Neither will the health care conglomerates with their hospitals and employee physicians. Unsurprisingly, the medical malpractice edifice will continue to thrive.
Health care has been used by both political parties in their struggle for votes. But the Republicans have apparently ceded the issue to the Democrats, no one brave enough to fight a government takeover for fear of being labelled non-caring. The Republicans have agreed with the Democrats that we are just too stupid to understand things like health care savings accounts. They are too cowed by politics to propose legislation that could encourage purchase of insurance across state lines. It is apparently too much for them to allow insurance pooling of high-risk individuals. With most of the lawmakers being lawyers, tort reform is not happening. Sensible ways to bring down costs and allowing us to make informed decisions are just too complicated for us dumb yokels.
When the Democrats take over health care, insurance companies could exist only as a middleman in the government Ponzi scheme. There is no reason to have insurance if pre-existing conditions are not a factor. Actuaries, those employed by insurance companies to balance risk and profit, will not be necessary. In their place, the government will just have an open pocketbook, printing increasingly worthless money to pay for service while relying on bureaucratic inefficiencies to provide a barrier between patients and their doctors. Less access means less cost. Just ask the National Health Service in Great Britain.
Health care conglomerates that populate the landscape today are soon to disappear. They came into being because of sweetheart deals with local governments and anti-capitalist regulations. The only reason they have done well is that they are allowed to charge more for services than free-standing doctors. They have absorbed doctors who have seen their incomes plummet, the issue jump-started with the recent COVID-19 implications. When doctors are all government employees, they will cease to exist.
For years, we have been victims of an incestuous power play with government, the insurance industry, and health care conglomerates working together to keep competition out of the health care market and avoid the reality that we cannot practice medicine affordably with our current practices. The insurance industry knew that their days were numbered when the first serious discussions about "Hillary-Care" emerged. They profited as they could. Now they only represent the last fleas on a dying dog.
Since 11% of American workers are employed in the health care sector, 24% of government spending goes toward health care, 8.1% of consumer spending is for medical care, and 26% of non-wage compensation is for health care insurance, it could be argued that this is the most consequential part of the economy. It is undeniably an area in which the rich and powerful were going to do anything to stay rich and powerful. But the creative destruction created by capitalism and attendant competition barely existed in this segment of the economy. Any thought of risking something innovative to bring down costs got kneecapped by talk of government-run care. As a result, good ideas and innovations that could introduce competition were stifled.
One would think that taking health care off the table would disempower the Democrats. Just as keeping the poor in poverty keeps them getting elected, keeping people afraid of dying in the streets has worked for them and their mainstream media mouthpieces. But the Republicans are emasculated and defeated, glad that legislators don't have to participate in the same health care system as the ignorant masses.
The interesting thing about doctors becoming government employees will be how the Democrats manage to allow the medical malpractice industry to continue. Lawyers are one of the top three Democratic donors. Another is the government employee's union, something that never should have been allowed, where the employees can sue the government, which is represented by the politicians they fund. Equally nefarious logic will no doubt be used to justify lawyers maintaining their cash flow.
If the Supreme Court is brought into the fray with any of these changes, no doubt, the 16 new judges brought on by President Kamala Harris will approve.
Image via Pixnio.