Last week I spent an afternoon going through printouts of my hospital bills from the last few years. After wearing out a few of the keys on my trusty TI-84 calculator, I confirmed what I had only suspected previously: that since May 1, 2005 Medicare, along with a potpourri of state medical assistance programs, has spent just over 1.1 million dollars keeping me alive.
Whether or not this 1.1 million dollar raid on the Social Security Trust Fund, as well as the State of New Mexico’s oil and gas royalties, represents a bargain is a matter of personal opinion. I mention it only to call attention to the promises regarding health care “reform” made by then-candidate Obama during the recently concluded campaign season.
The only problem I foresee regarding health care “reform” is that, in political terminology, “reform” is Orwellian Newspeak for “government meddling.”
Depending on who you talk to, the Obama Administration or some other equally partisan group, “reform” will probably add around 40 million people to an already over-extended health care system. If you think that having to wait 12 hours just to get into an Emergency Room or Urgent Care Clinic is bad, try to think about what adding another 50 people to the line ahead of you will do for your attitude.
I realize that there will be some who believe that more government involvement in health care will lead to cost control through “greater efficiency.” If you believe that line, just talk to any veteran that uses their local Veterans Administration Hospital and see what kind of testimonial to government efficiency that you get. Better yet, visit my old stomping grounds at the Indian Health Service Hospital in Gallup, New Mexico to see what kind of a bureaucratic mess that government supervision of health care can make.
Under Obama’s proposed Economic Recovery Plan, or whatever it’s being called this week, the government proposes to spend $87 billion for the state-run Medicaid programs, $20 billion to improve health information technology, and about $4 billion for improvements in preventative medicine. While this may look good on paper I must ask what the cost will be next year, or in its third year. I can assure you that the 50 states will run through that $87 billion of Medicaid funding in a matter of months! Does Obama’s proposed spending include funding these programs 5 years down the road? And the part about “preventive care” may look like a good idea, but it’s an even bigger joke.