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What We are NOT Getting

I can’t stop myself from writing a few words about the current health care debate.

A little Internet research suggests that the US spends about 16% of our GDP on health care (GDP or Gross Domestic Product is the total of all goods and services produced in a country), while other modern countries with government-run health care systems spend closer to 10% of their GDP. These percentages are used as a strong argument for passing health-care reform.

What gets me writing is how little these numbers have to do with the bills before the US Senate and House. We are not choosing between a free-market system and a government-run system. We are choosing between a bad system and a very bad system.

Our system today includes private hospitals, health-care professionals, insurance companies, lawyers, government taxes, regulations and reimbursements, and lots and lots of paperwork. Obamacare simply adds more regulations, more taxes, more reimbursements, special deals for unions and certain states, and payoffs for drug companies, insurance companies and lobbyists (like the AARP) to get them to sign on to the changes. Obamacare is not a government-run health care system that will suddenly bring our costs down to 10% of GDP. It is our current system made worse.

Those in favor of the bills before Congress repeat a mantra that goes something like this: “Our health care system is broken, so we have to try something else.” The problem with this argument is that the change may not be for the better. If my hand hurts, for example, and if I have tried to stop the hurt using traditional methods, then I could decide to try amputation. It’s an alternative. It’s a change. It even might stop the pain. But it is also ridiculous. And it is also ridiculous to think that more taxes, more regulations, more paperwork, and more mandates will save any money at all.

I understand that we have problems with our health care system, but I don’t understand how Obamacare will solve anything.