A Life and Death Issue: Universal Health Care (III)
A Scarcity of Doctors
You’d probably never think that the United States has or ever could have a shortage of doctors. In America, you make an appointment to see your family physician and, bingo, you’re there. But when America’s top health insurers and providers met in early May at the White House their real aim was to sabotage our current health care system, which is the best in the world.
The present administration believes that a kinder, gentler, more socialistic system should supersede what we have. That is why when Mr. Obama was campaigning he kept repeating this phrase: “America is the greatest country in the world. Help me change it!” Huh? If it’s the greatest country in the world, why would we want to change it, especially if that “change we can believe in” entails socialized medicine?
Mr Obama and the health insurers vowed to save $2 trillion over the next ten years with this new plan. That was very interesting and certainly some were enthused and encouraged by the thought of a $2 trillion savings. The question that no one seemed particularly interested in asking was: How are you going to save the $2 trillion? The short, common sense answer is by cutting doctor’s fees and Medicare fees. This is the way it’s been done in other countries that languish under universal health care and the U.S. will be no different. As I write this, Congress is attempting to find a way to cut Medicare fees by 21%.
“How does this translate into poorer health care coverage?” you might ask. That’s a good question. The intent is to cut doctor’s fees and to regulate medicine to the degree that doctors cannot make the kinds of decisions doctors are supposed to make because of bureaucratic red tape and hyper-control of resources. This is already true in countries like Sweden, Holland, Britain, and Canada and accounts for why many in those and other like countries are opting out of the socialized medicine and are heading towards privatization. It’s more than just a little bit ironic that while all these countries have lived through the baneful effects of socialized medicine, are starting to turn the corner, and are longing for privatization, America wants to give socialized medicine a shot? What! Are our elected officials really that stupid? Sadly, the answer is Yes and, we should add, greedy into the bargain, for they believe they stand to make more money on this abortive (no pun intended) undertaking.
Here’s how things work in the real world: Congress cuts Medicare by say, 25%, which brings about a concomitant cut in doctor’s fees, which, in turn, means that the doctors earn 25% less money. I’ll touch on how this works out in the practice later. The net result, however, is that these cuts discourage people from entering the medical field. As Dick Morris rightly observes, “The limited number of doctors and nurses in the United States is the key constraint on the availability of healthcare.” The U.S. currently has about 800,000 doctors for a population of 300,000,000-plus. The average rate of growth in our physician cadre hovers around 1% annually. If that drops, coupled with an increasing retirement rate, it is going to be next to impossible to take these limited resources to treat the almost 50 million new patients that will join the ranks of the insured if universal health care is implemented in the United States.
Let’s compare these facts with what is occurring in the U.K and its National Health System (NHS). The press over there reports that twice as many bureaucrats now join NHS than doctors and nurses, and that 858,000 Brits were on a waiting list for an operation at the end of 2004, some of whom had been on the list for more than a year!
Personally, I think the 47 million without health care is a bogus number in spite of what President O’Bama, Nancy Pelosi, and Hillary Clinton say. Nancy Pelosi cannot be trusted to get a simple story straight about when she was briefed—or not briefed; or misled, lied to, and bamboozled—by the CIA. If the woman cannot get a simple story like that straight, how in world did she get to be Speaker of the House? Anyway, all three of them toss around the number of plus/minus 47 million without insurance in the United States. Isn’t that awful? Well, no and that is for a number of valid reasons.
In 2006, the Census Bureau “reported that there were 46.6 million people without health insurance.” So at least we know where the numbers come from. The next logical question is to ask: are these numbers reliable, accurate? Do you remember that then-Senator O’Bama campaigned on the right for everyone in America to get universal health care? He did and that number included all those in this country illegally. Now if Americans were to deny health care to those here illegally (known in the kinder, gentler PC world as “undocumented workers”) that number would drop by about 12 million, which is a substantial number. We also know that there are about 17 million more who lived in households that earn more than $50,000 per year who, for whatever reason, do not want health care. It’s a free country and they can make that choice. No problem. Nevertheless, they comprise 17 million people. Bang, Bang. Now the total number of uninsured in America has dropped precipitously by 29 million warm bodies.
Another large chunk of the 47 million comprise the eighteen to thirty-four age bracket and believe they’re healthy, if not indestructible, and have opted out of health care. They would prefer to spend their discretionary income on drugs, X-boxes, video games, DVDs, movies, clothes, and the like. Another group are those unemployed, but the caveat is that 50%, which is almost half, got jobs and health care within four months of the survey. So why don’t Mr. O’Bama, Ms. Clinton, and The Confused One, Nancy Pelosi, tell us these facts. Rest assured they know them—perhaps Ms. Pelosi heard them, but wasn’t certain what they really meant. And if the CIA gave them to her, we all know that they intentionally misled her.
Since our President is insisting that we include the illegal aliens in the mix, our limited supply of doctors and nurses will have to contend with a sharp increase in patient load in the future. So, once again, here is how things work in the real world: “The only way to save money on the scale projected is to ration healthcare services.” But our meds will be free! someone might object. No, not really. By this time, adults should be keenly and acutely aware that there’s no such thing as a free anything and if something sounds too good to be true, it almost always is. In the very least, it’s not nearly all that was promised. Universal health care is a system that simply cannot deliver what it initially promises.
Allow me to give you a couple of examples. “Forty-four percent of the drugs approved by the Canadian health authorities for use in their country are not allowed by the healthcare system due to their high cost.” In addition, “Obama’s pretension that nobody will find change in his or her current health insurance plans except for a magical reduction in their cost by $2,500 a year is a fool’s proposition.” Why is this a ruse? The answer is to be found by looking at the health care management systems of other countries. Generally, here is the way things shake out. Insurance plans are governed and managed “by government healthcare planners who will approve treatments, limit drug use, hold down medical incomes and bring their cost-cutting programs to bear. Inevitably, their ax will fall on the oldest and the sickest among us.” The net result of all the promises will be that “A crucial part of our quality of life—the best healthcare in the world—will be gone forever.”
If you don’t believe me, Bill Gairdner, or Dick Morris, let me refer you to the Canadian Fraser Institute’s (www.fraserinstitute.org) “Waiting Your Turn. Hospital Waiting Lists in Canada (2008 Report, 18th Edition). The study documents the extent to which queues for visits to specialists and for diagnostic and surgical procedures are being used to control health care expenses. The report chronicles that the average waiting period in Canada for a CT scan is approximately five weeks. Moreover, “the total wait time remains high, both historically and internationally. Compared to 1993, waiting time in 2008 is 86 percent longer.” In 1994, long after Canada’s system was in place and up and running, “Statistics Canada showed that over one million Canadians felt that they needed care but did not receive it, and that approximately 30 percent of these people were in moderate or severe pain.” Just a few years later (2000-2001), “Statistics Canada data showed that an estimated 4.3 million Canadians had difficulties obtaining routine care, health information or advice, immediate care for minor health issues, and other first contact services, and approximately 1.4 million Canadians had difficulties gaining access to specialist visits, non-emergency surgery, and selected diagnostic tests.”Canada has attempted to remedy their problems by spending more (taxpayer dollars) on health care, but with undesirable results. A study from 2000-2003 “found that increased spending was actually correlated with increases in waiting times unless those increases in spending were targeted to physicians or pharmaceuticals.” This truth led the researchers of this Report to conclude: “This grim portrait is the legacy of a medical system offering low expectations cloaked in lofty rhetoric” and “the promise of the Canadian health care system is not being realized.” Is this what Americans want, because this is precisely what Mr. O’Bama wants to give us? Our health system is currently the best in the world. If the U.S. goes the route of socialized medicine there will be no country where those in lousy health care systems can flee to get treated, illegal aliens will be in the endless queues before Americans, and we will be forced to participate in something we do not want, constituting the loss of yet another freedom.
 Dick Morris, “Death of U.S. Healthcare,” (TheHill.com) May 12, 2009, p. 1.
 Mark Levin, Liberty and Tyranny, (NY: Threshold, 2009), p. 107.
 Morris, “Death of
 Ibid., 1-2.
 Ibid., 2.
 Ibid., 10.
 Ibid., 11.
 Ibid., 7.
Labels: Universal Health Care