Posted by: John Linkous | August 21, 2009

Healthcare Reform and EPIC FAIL

Amid the hyper-partisan bickering surrounding the healthcare debate, there appears to be a certain arrogance among those demanding “healthcare reform now!“, that anyone who has even the slightest concern with the byzantine contents of the pending healthcare bills — or the tenacity with which they are being railroaded through the legislative branch – is immediately lumped into the “right-wing nut” category.

Admittedly, despite my resolute support for the Second Amendment, this view is galvanized when people exercise their rights by bringing a loaded, open-carry AR-15 near the site of a Presidential speech on healthcare reform.  And yes, it’s also true that there is a lot of ludicrous “the-Death-Panels-are-gonna-pull-the-plug-on-grandma!” hyperbole being bandied about with respect to the healthcare debate.

But ultimately, most of the people throwing up such strawmen, bogeymen, and outright fabrications are simply scared — they’re terrified (and rightly so) of the implications of another giant, lumbering, tarkus-like federal government institution that has minimal accountability, and whose fiscal reserves can be raided by Congress like a cookie jar after school.  Add fifty thousand drone-like worker bees, and it’s easy to see how the public views the idea of “public option” healthcare reform as another Social Security debacle.

However, I think the “public option” question is not the real crux of the debate; there are two ultimately frightening spectres in the room that don’t seem to being addressed by those promoting healthcare reform.

First up?  Tort reform.  Doctors pay an insane amount of money in malpractice insurance, and make no mistake: these costs are absolutely transferred into the system, and are ultimately burdened by the consumer.  Unless tort reform makes it into any final healthcare law — and good luck with that, given the percentage of J.D.’s in Congress – whatever solution is developed will still drain budgets and line the pockets of malpractice firms.  Healthcare reform, like everything else in politics, is about money and power.  Take away this significant source of the fiscal drain on the current system, and we would likely not need any additional controls to drastically reduce costs for existing covered persons (although this doesn’t address the issue of the uninsured, but that’s a post for another day…)

The second issue is simply a question of timing, and can summarized in a simple question: why must healthcare reform be pushed through so quickly?  It’s a cogent and very ligitimate question, that hasn’t been answered in any legitimate fashion by any Congressman in any Town Hall debate I’ve seen to date.  Of course, we all know the unfortunate answer: because the Obama administration is looking for a healthcare win, and will do whatever they must to make sure it happens before the September.  This kind of self-serving, arrogant objective is what will allow unscrupulous lawmakers to add endless entitlements for their districts to the final legislation, and will cause the administration to rubber-stamp what should be critical legislature — instead, turning it into “Pet-Project Healthcare”.

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