Wednesday, August 05, 2009

How "Healthcare Reform" Would Play Out

If the "Healthcare Reform" bill put forward by the Democrats were to ever become law, here's how it would play out. (A hint: you won't like the ending.)

1) A bill including a government health insurance option and an appointed, unaccountable board of "experts" who will determine what care must be offered and to whom is passed.

2) The 48 million "uninsured" pile into the government plan, along with a significant percentage of those currently insured (as a result of their places of employment eliminating the hassle of providing insurance and electing to pay the tax "penalty").

3) Quickly, the government plan is out of money to pay for the massive increase in healthcare utilization that results.

4) With not enough resources, the government is faced with three choices: a) repeal the law; b) massive tax hikes across the board on individuals; c) reduce the cost of the healthcare being paid for by the government. Here's where the Socialist magic happens. Option 'a' is a total non-starter, as it would be an admission of failure (something not allowed by the personalities involved), as well as mightily opposed by the leftist elements of the Democrats base. Option 'b' is politically VERY difficult, since this whole plan was sold as a way to control healthcare costs and "reduce the deficit" (try not to snicker). Option 'c', on the other hand, is politically easy because its not too difficult to demonize the healthcare industry for "overcharging". It also has the added benefit of not requiring an admission that they were horribly wrong.

5) Having selected the option of reducing costs, the government unilaterally informs healthcare providers that they will now only be paid 60 cents on the dollar for the same services they have been performing for participants in the government option. Because there are so many people covered by the government plan, healthcare providers have no choice but to accept it. In a desperate attempt to make up for the losses, healthcare providers crank up their rates charged to individuals utilizing private plans, causing more and more people to dump their private plan for the "cheaper" government plan.

6) When reducing costs by underpaying healthcare providers doesn't stop the massive losses the program is running, the unaccountable board of appointed "experts" steps in with new rules to maximize the "return on investment" for the government's money. These rules include denial of coverage for many procedures and medications for people who the bureaucrats determine aren't a good investment, including the elderly, those with chronic or terminal diseases, etc. If you're over 65, no hip replacement for you, because you'll probably die soon, anyway (harsh, but this is the way Socialized medicine works).

7) With the healthcare industry financially decimated, hospitals and doctor's offices closing around the country, and the rate of participation in the government "option" accelerating, the only remaining option is rationing of care. Need an MRI? get in line. We'll try to get to you within the next year. Need a joint replacement? If we calculate that you're worth it, we can arrange for that within the next several years. Development of new medications, therapies, and medical devices comes to a stand still, as no private company is willing to risk the billions it takes to develop new medical products when there's no money to pay for them. The state of the art in medicine ceases to advance.

At that point, we will have reached the point that Great Britain and Canada are at now, except there won't be a United States to run to to get that MRI, new medication, or surgical procedure. We will have thrown it all away in the name "Hope and Change".