Health Care In The Good Old Days

"So today, I am announcing an additional $313 billion in savings that will rein in unnecessary spending, and increase efficiency and the quality of care – savings that will ensure that we have nearly $950 billion set aside to offset the cost of health care reform over the next ten years.” President Barack Obama in his Weekly Radio Address, June 13, 2009

In the old days, I remember getting dressed up in my Sunday best to go to the doctor. We were not rich, my father never made much money and my mom went back to work when I entered 1st grade to help pay for my oldest sister’s college.  We had the same family doctor for years.

Dr. Davidson would examine in one room and then you’d walk down the hall to his office for a consultation.  He’d pull out a white piece of paper and fountain pen and write out your instructions.  It would usually be something in the realm of common sense.  Eat lean meat, get plenty of sleep.  Occasionally, he would prescribe an antibiotic or some other wonder drug of the time.  We would pay at the window and my mother always thought the $20 dollar cost was outrageous.  We’d go home and mom would sit at the dining room table with her receipt and the insurance form, fill it out and mail it the next day to the insurance company.  In a few weeks, we would be reimbursed for all or part of the amount.  Occasionally, she would have to call the insurance company to find out what the status was.

Those were the good ol’ days.  It was the so-called “Golden Age” of medicine. Today, around 50% of Americans are on some sort of government health care coverage.  Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Health and the Indian Health Service are big bureaucracies with lots of rules and regulations actually impeding access to the best medical care.

The president talks of cost cutting.  He’s not the first — since Mike Dukakis’ failed bid for president, presidents and would-be presidents have talked of savings in current government health care programs.  We were actually making some progress towards that when the Republicans controlled Congress.  

Congressman Nathan Deal (R-Ga) chairman of the subcommittee on Health until the Democrats took control, pushed through measures reforming Medicare and Medicaid and actually began the process of saving money and being more efficient.  One of the first things Democrats did was strip these provisions out.  

Currently, one in six dollars spent in America is generated by the government.  If they get control of private health care, it will be two and six.  Do we really want a third of the economy to be controlled by the government?  And further, do we want to have the government control the only part of the private sector that is actually adding jobs in this economy?  I think the answer is no on both counts.

Regardless of what they say, The Obama Plan or the Kennedy Plan, whatever you want to call it today, will drive competition out of the market.  Rick Scott, former owner and CEO of Columbia-HCA, founder of Discovery Health and Solantic Corporation Urgent Care Centers in Florida has put together a coalition of people to fight this administration’s health care reform.  It’s called Conservatives for Patient’s Rights, or  You can tell he’s making an impact because he’s getting skewered on the Lefty blogs.  

Solantic is a network of urgent care centers. When you walk through the doors, there is a menu of costs.  A visit with a doctor is $89, if you need to be stitched up; it’s $229, and so on.  In the world of care for the uninsured or under insured, he’s providing quality care at good prices.  His revenues are almost 50% cash and that’s unheard of in medicine today. Similarly, Wal-Mart is putting primary care clinics in their stores.  I don’t think they have any illusions of turning a profit on the clinics, but they do know if you are there you are going to do your shopping, pick up your prescription and first aid supplies you need after your doctor’s visit and they win that way.

Let the market work.  You can’t honestly say that Medicare and Medicaid work.  The VA has improved a great deal on service and accessibility and we don’t even want to talk about the Indian Health Service. The problem with health care delivery is the government regulations and the government fee structure. It is anti-market forces and unsustainable.

President Obama, I’m not from Missouri, but “show me” If you can save hundreds of billions of dollars to fund your initiative, show me first. You haven’t saved a dime on anything in your whole life.  Nothing in your history or what you’ve shown us so far as president gives any credibility to the notion that your ideas save the taxpayer anything.  In fact, quite the opposite is true.  We can’t afford you or your policies.  And we are not going to give even more of the decisions about our health care to a bureaucrat of any kind.

If government health care for all is passed, you can’t go back from that.  This is a fight worth fighting and a fight worth winning. Let’s fix what we have and keep the guys behind the desks out of your doctor’s office.