Obamacare is failing. Don’t argue with me, just look at the numbers. (And those are conservative numbers.) Something has to happen. The question is not does it have to be fixed, but how to fix it, and therein lies the great debate. The minority party, which became the minority party over this mess, still wants to try and execute “Plan A” – single payer. Sadly, the majority party has, to date, been too busy looking for perfection to oppose them so “Plan A” still stands there in the future – ominously. And frankly that is the most terrifying prospect this person has come across in a long time.
My state, California, recently flirted with single payer. Thank God that effort failed – for now. It’ll be back, of that I am certain. When it was actively being debated I told my wife we would take the financial hit and I would retire early and we would leave the state if it happened. My wife has too complex a health history for us to suffer through that bureaucratic nightmare. Congress needs to turn us back from the brink and do so very quickly. Dithering will only allow the single payer scheme to gain steam, first in California, and soon in the rest of the country. The idea of “free” health care is just too enticing.
But bureaucratic mazes and second rate care are not, to my mind, the most nightmarish aspects of single payer. I just happened across an Avik Roy piece from September of last year that defines the true nightmare.
In North Yorkshire, England, hospital leaders have decided to cut back by denying hip and knee surgeries to smokers who refuse to quit, and those with Body Mass Indices above 30. (If you’re 5’10”, a BMI of 30 is 209 pounds; if you’re 5’5”, it’s 180 pounds.)
Folks, that is not medicine, that is social engineering. About a week ago I wrote about myself more than I should have. I did what I did to delay knee surgery, and it has worked. But the day is still coming when I will need to replace my knees. My BMI, vastly improved though it is, is not in that envelope. Somebody please explain to me how, in a situation like mine, a policy like that adopted in North Yorkshire is fair? That is just one example – there are countless stories of people that have done everything they can to improve their lifestyles, but still need drastic intervention. Are all of them to be denied because they did not try “hard enough?” This is not the difference between and “A” and a “B” in math class, this is the difference between walking and crippled. (Not to mention how much harder it is to lose weight when you cannot walk – of all the silly decisions….)
But why stop there? Control of medical care would give the single payer control over so much of life. What if only people that have contributed to society by earning more than $XXXX are deemed worthy of receiving more than a single course of chemotherapy when they get cancer? What if one’s charitable giving must exceed YY% of income to qualify for non-life-threatening asthma treatment? Where does it end?
Single payer is not a panacea – it is the creation of a monster. Fix Obamacare now – the alternative is too frightening to contemplate.