You Get What You Pay For

One of the dirty little secrets of Obama’s health ‘care’ debacle is that Medicare reimbursement rates are set to go down for all health care providers effective December 1. This means that the medical professionals to whom you trust your health, and, indeed, your very life, are having a 20-30 percent pay cut forced upon them in less than a month. Imagine, say, the autoworkers–or the teachers’ unions–having to take such a pay cut. The indignant outrage would be swift and immediate. The simple fact is that doctors, whose training and wisdom often stand between us and pain or death, are more important than autoworkers or even teachers.

Doctor’s rates are going down to pay for ObamaCare. ObamaCare seeks to nationalize health care by placing so many restrictions and unfunded mandates on private insurance companies that they will go out of business. Government will then step in to ‘manage’ Medicare for the entire population, rather than only the elderly. The government monopoly on health care will most surely go just about as well as the monopoly on the post office or public education. Medicare, even if kept only for the elderly population, is going bankrupt. The only question is when, not if, Medicare (along with Social Security) will run out of money.

So how is the federal government, who has been busy creating a national deficit stretching into the trillions of dollars, supposed to sustain a program for the entire population that it can’t even sustain for the elderly? Obama’s supporters glaze over and mumble, ‘Well, it’s Medicare. It cannot go away. So stop talking about it.”

The psychological process required for a catastrophe to mentally “settle in” usually comes in stages. A catastrophe such as the future implosion of entitlement benefits in America will come in stages. The first stage is happening on December 1: The decrease in reimbursement rates for doctors under Medicare. Congress might reverse the fee reductions for another month or so, but then what? The rate cuts in the legislation prove that members of both parties are aware that the government cannot continue to finance Medicare as we know it–even before the mandates imposed by ObamaCare go into full effect when government becomes the primary payer for all medical care.

Perhaps you think doctors make “too much.” Specialists working outside the third-party reimbursement system (plastic surgeons, for example) can do fairly well, but general practitioners who accept Medicare do not earn as much as the liberals would like you to think. So, by what formula do you determine the right amount? Do you trust the private marketplace to set the prices by negotiation between individuals and their doctors? Or do you trust politicians in Washington, DC to determine a “one size fits all” price? If you actually believe the latter, remember that “you get what you pay for.” If you think doctors, who spent thousands upon thousands for their training, are going to work twice as hard for 30 percent less pay (at least), then you had better think again. Would you? If not, then why would a doctor?

Our only hope for maintaining the quality and availability of competent doctors is the possibility that ObamaCare will be torn apart by the new Congress, or struck down by the Supreme Court before it does too much damage. Of course, this doesn’t change the fact that Medicare, not to mention the entire federal government, is long since bankrupt and wallowing in ever-increasing debt. By pumping money into the financial system, the Federal Reserve is risking the greatest run of hyperinflation since the Weimar Republic of Germany, the failed government that gave rise to Adolf Hitler in the 1930s. And bigger problems are looming. The massive course reversals required of our government, and needed by the entitlement-addicted American people, are much bigger than the Tea Party or anything stated in the recent election campaigns.

Don’t just feel sorry for your doctors, who will be paying for our ‘free’ health care. Feel even sorrier for yourself—whether you’re currently a patient, or might need medical care in the future. Our lives will be in the hands of doctors who have been told that they don’t matter and that they are employees of the state. Their incentive will no longer be to provide excellent care. Their incentive will be to simply clock in, clock out, go through the motions and retire as soon as the government pension kicks in. Not all that different from many existing government employees.

The solution? Restore the free market, where doctors who work harder will earn more for their skill and dedication. Patients will once again be consumers who choose from competing practitioners for the best care possible. The government must get out of the way, and let people purchase their own health care in the open market–no different than how we buy computers, cars, airplane flights, food and everything else produced and delivered by people who compete for your dollar.

The transition to the free market might be uncomfortable at first. But what’s the alternative? If doctors work for the government, then medical care will no longer be a profitable profession. The best and the brightest will no longer be compensated for their efforts. As with anything the government touches, the mediocre will thrive, but the brilliant will not. Innovation (the cornerstone of our medical industry) will end. Oh, yes, medical care “for all” will exist on paper. But it won’t be worth the paper it’s printed on.