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Healthcare for Free?

17 September 2011 at 7:22:37 AM

The Gaping Hole in Ron Paul's Health Care Policy

| Fri Sep. 16, 2011 4:11 PM PDT

GOP presidential candidate, Ron Paul, believes that government must get out of the health care business, allow the free market to establish pricing for healthcare services, and leave it to seniors and the poor to financially manage their health care needs.

If you are wondering how the poor and the elderly are to do this without safety net programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, a visit to candidate Paul's campaign website reveals the basis for the Congressman's belief that the healthcare system will step up to care for the poor and elderly at no charge.

In the days before Medicare and Medicaid, the poor and the elderly were admitted to hospitals at the same rate they are now, and received good care. Before those programs came into existence, every physician understood that he or she had a responsibility towards the less fortunate and free medical care was the norm. Hardly anyone is aware of this today, since it doesn't fit into the typical, by the script story of government rescuing us from a predatory public sector.

It strikes me that it is time to put Paul's theories to the test to determine how a typical American senior citizen would survive in a world without Medicare.

     Views: 8123 
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1 - pstern   17 Sep 2011 @ 9:39:12 AM 

I think most Republicans look to privatize our government programs, e.g., Health care and social services (Medicare and Medicaid), Social Security, etc.  After all, true republicanism believes that govenrment needs to be removed from control over our daily lives, which in itself is not a bad thing.

In today's world, the free enterprise open competitive market system is not as it was many years ago.  For the most part, businesses  have become extremely greedy and many do not work in the community's best interests.  Here in Texas, we have seen how deregulation and open competition affects consumer costs in a negative way. 

As merely one example, Governor Rick Perry pushed to deregulate the costs of higher tuition, saying that competition would lower tuition costs for Texas children; however, after the Legislature approved tuition deregulation the University of Texas then raised its tuition costs no less than 5 times within a 1-year period while other Texas universities and colleges followed UT's lead.  Perry's ties with UT are very well known.  In fact he appoints members of the Regents who remain his supporters.

At one time deregulation (eliminating any oversight) was a good thing.  Big business competed to provide the lowest costs to consumers; however, today all too often deregulation permits businesses to compete for higher costs.  There is a lack of ethics and community spirit within our society that frequently interferes with true competition and free enterprise that benefits everyone.  Today it is too one-sided in favor of business.

I think that even more than this issue what has hurt Ron Paul most is how many did not listen closely to him when he stated his view on health care.  The audience only heard what they wanted to hear, that Paul was saying to let a patient die who opted not to purchase his own health care even though that person could afford it.

What made the audience's reaction to Paul's statement so absurd for me is that Paul is a doctor and views the Hippocratic Oath as sacred.  He would NEVER say hospitals should let a person die or not receive treatment in a hospital ER if he or she did not have health care.  Paul was saying that the person should be made responsible to pay after treatment and that government should not be forced to pay for the person's treatment.  Any thinking person should comprehend that.

This has been the problem for Ron Paul throughout his political career.  While his ideas and beliefs for the most part are intelligent and rational, he seems unable to use the correct words to get people to fully comprehend what he is saying.  Also, the media often either misunderstands or misquotes Paul.  I see this as his biggest obstacle in winning the GOP nomination.  It pushes Paul away from potential supporters and even from the Republican Party.

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2 - humanbeing   25 Sep 2011 @ 2:03:43 PM 

The Public vs. Private debate over how to finance our health insurance continues to frustrate me. The buzz word, Obamacare, now means only this: that the government will intercede in the patient/physician relationship (O my god) and force all citizens to participate (by taking financial responsibility in something we all must assume responsibility for?).

The Health Maintanence Organization Act of 1973 opened the door for the creation of Managed Care here in the U.S. Today, about 90% of our private health insurance is operated under some form of Managed Care. The goal of M.C. was to contain the costs by providing economic incentives to chose cheaper forms of treatment, review committees to question the medical necessity of treatments, greater costs to be born by the patient, greater control over hospital admissions and length of stay and selective contracting with certain providers. Does anyone with private health insurance really still believe that someone has not already stepped into your patient/physician relationship, someone who can tell you where and with whom you may seek treatment? If so, I'd bet they haven't had to use their 'plan' in the last 20 years or so.

The success of M.C. is debatable. Critics argue that it has not reduced costs (overhead at some Insurance corporations is 25-33% compared with 10% for our current government-managed system)

Anyone who still believes that the future of financing our health care will not involve 'management' and certain limitations doesn't understand the reality we are faced with. Costs continue to rise as coverage for more citizens continues to be eliminated because of unprofitabilty for the few mega-corporations who do insure us. This creates a greater burden on those of us who do pay as more people neglect their care only to appear in the ER with massive problems instead of manageable ones.

Perhaps the biggest problem of all is the fact that we as a society can't seem to manage to have intellegent discussion about this problem and how best to solve it because of ideological differences.

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3 - pstern   25 Sep 2011 @ 6:13:34 PM 

"Perhaps the biggest problem of all is the fact that we as a society can't seem to manage to have intellegent discussion about this problem and how best to solve it because of ideological differences."

You are correct, of course, HB.  The same is true of most issues these days.  There is no middle ground on issues, only extreme and opposing forces catalyzed by wealthy special interests who continue to interfere with our democratic representative government constitutional responsibility to serve the people.

However, I have to say that I am against Obama's health care program.  I was from the start and I still am.

It was supposed to open up competition and it was supposed to cover everyone.  It has failed to do either of these things.

An example is that here in Texas, most companies refuse to cover children for individual health plans.  They simply opted out.  The only company currently that covers children in the state is Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas and the child must be at least 1 year old.  Any child less than 1 year old cannot get a full individual health care plan.

For a child between the ages of 60 days and 1 year parents may apply for a temporary individual health care plan that may be renewed after 6 months.   The premium cost is a ridiculous $219 per month.

Children from birth to 59 days cannot be covered under an individual policy.  There is none available.  The only way parents may cover a newborn for the first 59 days is to have the baby included in a family policy and/or under Medicaid if you are "lucky" enough to qualify for the social program.  However, if you are willing to pay for your own child's health care you can't find a plan or company to cover the child, except as per above.

Obama's health care plan already is a dismal failure on this level and on many others. 

BTW, Medicare raised its premiums for those on fixed income.  These are the same people whom the government would not provide a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) because the government statistics supposedly showed that the cost of living did NOT increase.  Yeah, right.

We're all screwed no matter if private industry runs health care of the government does.  I'm really not sure which way we are more screwed, but we are either way.


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4 - humanbeing   25 Sep 2011 @ 8:08:04 PM 

We're screwed, pstern, because our legislators are not mature enough or courageous enough to put themselves on the line to do their jobs and do what's right. They're bought by the immensely wealthy corporations that supply our health insurance.

Obama put himself on the line for this issue in a major way but ran into a concrete wall and compromised. Like my brother used to say, the problem with compromise is that no one ends up happy. I'm certainly not.

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5 - pstern   25 Sep 2011 @ 8:34:20 PM 

Agreed.  I'm not much of an Obama fan, but I will say that from day 1 in the White House the GOP has fought him every step of the way on almost every issue including health care.  It was a set up from the start and the GOP was posturing all this time for the 2012 election; however, the GOP will lose the 2012 election because the leaders have not gotten any smarter and their candidates are not much better than last time. 

"You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar."

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