The fields of ethics, knowledge and general philosophy are more fundamental than psychology. These fields refer to the nature of ideas; psychology deals with ideas as people hold them in their minds, along with the attendant emotional consequences when contradictory or irrational ideas are held. Nevertheless, with the passage of total (as opposed to partial) socialized medicine in America, keep an eye on the psychological state of Americans in situations where doctor-patient relationships are concerned. Americans are about to see for themselves that the passage of ObamaCare will not result in improved doctor-patient relationships.
The bill does nothing to address the fact that doctors, by and large, work for third-party entities (Medicare, government-regulated insurance collectives, and the like). When you go to your doctor one day after the passage of ObamaCare, one year after the passage of ObamaCare, or even one decade after the passage of ObamaCare, you’re not going to be any happier with the medical care and reimbursement you receive than you were before. The only difference between the state of medical affairs in 2010 and the state of medical affairs in the future is, (1) what remains of private insurance will be much more expensive than it is now, because of the regulation the federal government will now impose on the insurance industry, and (2) government will be much more involved in the practice and payment of medicine than ever before. We will be forever saddled with the faltering (or failed) systems of Great Britain, Canada and even the Soviet Union, rather than the regulated and flawed, though still in some sense great, American medical sphere we knew up to now.
People will be disappointed—or worse. Their politicians will no longer be able to blame the ‘evils’ of for-profit insurance companies; over time those insurance companies will be floundering or simply gone. More and more people will be added to the Medicare or Medicaid rolls as government further expands eligibility. Look at what happened in Massachusetts in the last five years, where socialized medicine was passed by a Republican governor. The people who previously couldn’t get to see a doctor because they lacked coverage now can’t see a doctor because there aren’t enough doctors. Primary care doctors are dropping by the wayside as reimbursement rates go down and the government rosters go up. The experiment with socialized medicine in Massachusetts was a preview of how politicians can publicly wish something into existence.
But wishing does not make it so. But, wishing will, indeed, cost a bundle. ObamaCare passed just as the highest number of recipients of Medicare in the history of the program are about to make claims for coverage. Medicare is scheduled to go bankrupt. And nobody has suggested that it won’t. Taxes will go up, and up, and up—and keep going ever up—just to keep Medicare going. To say nothing of Social Security. And Medicaid. And the new ObamaCare coverage. Not to mention defense and the billions if not trillions of dollars in miscellaneous ‘pork’ the government redistributes to its supporters. The threat to the stability of the American dollar, the risk of hyperinflation of the kind Germany saw before Hitler’s rise to power are very real. People wonder how a civilized, Westernized nation like Germany could have voted a twisted fascist into office. Take a look at the economy leading up to Hitler’s election, the welfare state that went bankrupt and bust, and judge for yourself what happened. Also, remember that the term “Naziism” stood for: National Socialism. Hitler was a socialist too.
America is a nation with a consumer psychology, in which the individual wants to shop for what he considers value in the marketplace. Even now, in the era of Obama and the Great Recession, Americans are still all about being consumers, whether on the level of WalMart or a BMW. The consumer psychology still largely flourishes in the market for automobiles, groceries, telephones, computers, houses, condominiums, and all manner of gadgets that make modern life so comfortable and manageable. This consumer psychology has largely been thwarted in the last 60 or 70 years by the mismanagement of government in the medical sector of the economy–interestingly, the very same length of time socialists and Democrats have been clamoring to pass socialized medicine. I, and others, have written for years now about how World War II-inspired government tax credits for businesses (but not for individuals) as well as government subsidies such as Medicare and Medicaid turned the private sector of medicine into a publicly managed one not unlike the mortgage industry that ultimately became bankrupt and dysfunctional. Of course, in true socialist form, the private sector and capitalism generally got the blame for everything. Republicans opposed ObamaCare, but they didn’t have a leg to stand on because the Republicans in office today have protected and even expanded the modern welfare state as much as the Democrats. Who are they to tell the Democrats they have no right to expand it even further when they finally get their hour in the sun?
It will be interesting to watch the American consumer psychology confront the convoluted, dysfunctional and expensive world of hyper-regulated ObamaCare once the everyday implications of the law become clear. Most of us won’t find out until we’re sick. At any given point in time, the sick are a minority. (Thanks to the Western technology, science and the freedom we enjoyed up to now.) That could even be why ObamaCare passed. If more people understood from first-hand experience how medical care works, and what breaks it down when it doesn’t work, we wouldn’t have let the socialist politicians take control of it. But, as a health care provider, trust me: Even the healthy should worry. Your doctors are under more pressure, red tape, fee reductions and arbitrary government control than ever before. Under Medicare, a 20 percent pay cut is reportedly waiting for them. Will Obama and Pelosi be getting pay cuts? In fact, more doctors are seriously considering dropping Medicare and Medicaid. Who knows? Maybe the government will force them to see patients at a financial loss, whether they want to or not. How can people not see this at the end of the bankrupt ObamaCare road? Do you, the patient, feel reassured? The socialist Royalty of Obama, Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Barney Frank and all the rest will enjoy the best health care available for the rest of their lives, regardless of what happens to them politically. Not so for us, the Little People (who pay them).
The President can sign a bill wishing “health care for all” into existence. But he cannot make it happen. The Americans who let him get away with it are the ones who deserve the worst of what’s coming. My sympathy and admiration lies with those who opposed it.