• Health Care Reform Part I: What's To Like About The U.S. Health Care System? -- Six Hints
  • August 26, 2009
  • Law Firm: Holland & Hart LLP - Denver Office
  • Well, a lot, if the intensity of public reaction to pending proposals for change is any guide. Here are some hints.

    1. Somebody else pays for it. Most of us have the benefit of health insurance provided by our employer or by the government under Medicare or Medicaid. Although we may be experiencing a growth in creeping co-pays, “donut holes” in coverage and other occasional contribution requirements, as well as those annoying “preexisting condition problems” most of us like the fact that mostly somebody else pays and were are not that involved in the messy business of health care finance.
    2. We can access it when we want it. No need to hang around months or years waiting for an allocation of time to get what we need like those passive Canadians up north. Private free competition medicine brings together a purchaser and a seller and the deal is done.  No bureaucratic red tape or unfair access criteria or standing in line.  I can go to Tennessee to get a liver transplant if there are not enough livers to go around in California. The supply rises to meet the demand. That is the American way.
    3. The Mendacity of Hope.  We are going to be a long time dead.  Since the only thing that we actually know for sure is that we are here and we want to stay on this side of the grass as long as we can we need to believe in the power of medicine and medical technology to find a cure before we need it and not to limit innovation that might keep us going for who knows how long. We want to be confident that everything that can be done will be done to keep us going. The reason why we have so many drugs developed here and so many new procedures and technologies is that the government has not been successful in its ongoing efforts to stifle the hope of medical miracles lurking just around the corner.
    4. We earned the right. We have what we have because we earned it and we are not about to allow some upstart to take it away. We worked hard as the ‘greatest generation” and the always innovative baby boomer generation to cover ourselves and our families through private insurance and through our taxes.  Most of the uninsured are either young people who think they are invincible and don’t want to give up their personal luxuries or are illegal and don’t belong here anyway.  We watch our health and our diets and those other people ratchet up our costs because they don’t take care of themselves and show up at emergency rooms of our hospitals in extremis thereby increasing the insurance payment costs to the rest of us.  Call it the “Protestant Ethic” or the process of “natural selection.” Our success shows that God loves us and wants us to keep what we have. The reality is that we have ours and they don’t and it’s their fault not ours.
    5. We are the envy of the world.  Why are all of those people swimming across the Rio Grande or hiding out after their visas expire?  Why are all of those oil rich Arabs flocking to the United States for health care?  Because they can choose and they choose the best.  We have the best health care in the world. That WHO study in the 1990s listing France of all places as number one in quality outcomes was obviously biased. Somebody must have received a case of premium Montrachet. The U.S. at 37th in the world?  Who are they kidding? Even our soccer teams are better than that. They don’t like us at the UN, just our money. Besides, if our people don’t get it right here we can always sue them.  That’s how we weed out the bad eggs.
    6. So what if the cost climbs?  That is the price of civilization. What good is civilization if you are dead?  Advanced civilizations should pay more for health care.  The explosive cost is the price we are willing to have our employer and the government pay as long as it doesn’t affect my job and doesn’t increase my taxes and doesn’t affect our right to choose.  What we get is our inalienable right to choose our own doctor and keep things the way they are. The risk of unsustainability is way overblown like climate change. Health care costs are only a problem to the rust belt industries were the greedy unions just took so much that they gutted the golden goose.  Obama may be able to fire the head of GM.  We will be damned if he is going to fire my doctor or fire grandma with his death panels.