Come for the Politics, Stay for the Pathologies

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hammer Time

If Dr. Sanity has given up, what hope is there for the rest of us? To be fair, she’s probably been fighting against nationalized healthcare much longer than most of us - who’ve only recently discovered that this nightmare is real. Never-the-less, it’s sad to see someone as astute as the Doc announce that she’s done fighting and will hang up her shingle if Obama-care is enforced.

For those of you unfamiliar, Dr. Sanity is a board certified psychiatrist. In addition to an M.D. she holds an M.S. in biochemistry, is a former NASA flight surgeon, has taught at UCLA and is currently on the clinical faculty at the University of Michigan (In Ann Arbor - often described as 10 square miles surrounded by reality.) This is in addition to being in private practice and blogging prolifically.

So if Dr. Sanity is tired of fighting, who can blame her? Time for the rest of us to take up the fight. Unless of course you can think of one system or program run by the government that is run efficiently and/or effectively. Let’s think: Medicare? Medicaid? Social Security? Welfare? Post Office? Fannie Mae, Fannie Mac? Education (don’t get me started)? IRS- well they are good at collecting tax dollars - albeit after the fact in the case of tax cheats who want an appointment in the Obama administration. How about VA hospitals? They are an outright disgrace to this nation.

So you see, we have no choice but to fight. The medical system is hard enough to navigate now, imagine what it will be like if the government bureaucrats have it in their grasps? For you people out there that don’t live in northern boarder states: where do you think Canadians go for medical care if there life depends upon it – and it often does. Answer: the USA, stupid. Not Britain, Sweden, France or Cuba.

Yes, there are serious problems with some aspects of our healthcare. Vincent Miller and Jarrett Wollstein have done an informative pamphlet on several of the issues which drive the cost of medical care through the roof: no incentives for economy, government interference and bureaucracy, and litigation. They also present six ways to remedy the current mess , plus a cautionary tale with respect to looking to the government for a “solution”.

Dr. Sanity reminds us that “to a hammer everything looks like a nail, and relents that “psychiatrists are the mental health profession's hammer; and drugs are the nail.” To Obama’s liberal administration, every social problem is a nail, and the government is the ultimate hammer.

Most serious problems require a bit more analysis than a hammer can bring to bear. Remember, we have the best health care on earth: from research to surgery (unless you count Cuba). If you take the hammer to it, it will shatter. In a free market with free men, I’d like to think we can resolve the major issues as we always have: with ingenuity, incentive and entrepreneurial drive. Take away the free enterprise component to solving seemingly insurmountable problems and you’ve created another government behemoth that sucks not only our wallets but our souls dry.