- Victor C. Bolles
The GOP healthcare bill just won’t die and go away. It keeps coming back in an ever more grotesque form. It is actually more like Frankenstein’s monster (if I can mix my monster metaphor), made up of bits and pieces scavenged from some graveyard in order to appease this or that Republican. Now that I think about it, the healthcare bill is more like a zombie Frankenstein’s monster. That’s really scary.
I am getting really tired of writing about healthcare because there are so many other things that need to get done. Like a zombie’s relentless search for human flesh, Republicans keep trying to come up with ways to keep the healthcare entitlement without calling it an entitlement. Whether you pay for it with a subsidy or a tax benefit, it’s still an entitlement. No one (except maybe Rand Paul) is giving a thought about why you need an entitlement for healthcare. It’s the high cost, dummies. Even wealthy people can go broke trying to pay for healthcare. But even government can go broke paying for healthcare, which is why we need to solve this problem.
Neither Obamacare nor the proposed GOP replacement solves the problem of the ever-increasing cost of healthcare that currently gobbles up 17% of our economy and wastes a trillion dollars a year. They are both chicken wire and chewing gum amalgams intended to provide an entitlement while meeting the needs of special interest groups while at the same time appealing to the extreme bases that each party is beholden to. If that sounds like an impossible task, you are right. It is impossible.
What the two opposing sides don’t want to do is to address the real problem. There are essentially two ways to get medical costs back down from the stratosphere. One is a single payer system favored by progressives and socialists. The other is a free market system favored libertarians and right-wingers where competition drives down prices while improving the product or service.
Most other developed economies have already converted to a single payer system. But to me, going to a single payer system is like giving up. It is like saying that we humans are incapable of managing our own affairs and that we need big brother or a nanny to take care of us. I think too highly of human beings to think that we must put ourselves at the mercy of a higher power for our most basic necessities. And, of course, that higher power is not God or some omniscient being, but other humans to whom we willingly sacrifice our freedom in return for their supposed beneficence.
As Winston Churchill said, “you can count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.” Obamacare and the GOP’s attempts to create TrumpCare should tell us that we have just about exhausted all the other possible ways of solving this dilemma.
In order to fix healthcare in the US, we need to deconstruct the current zombie-like monstrosity instead of adding something new to it (making it even more monstrous). This will not be an easy task (which is why most politicians are not proposing anything like this). Easy or not, we must either create a market-oriented healthcare system that is efficient and affordable or we will be relegated to a VA-like single payer system that can control costs through government fiat. Tell me, which one seems more like the American way to you?