As we count down to the final Senate vote on a government-mandated health plan that will cripple and then bankrupt the American health-care system, we must reacquaint ourselves with the results of past government intervention in the health-care system and in other areas, such as the financial meltdown.
Recently, the president met with bank executives in an attempt to increase their lending to small and mid-sized businesses, the very businesses that will suffer the most under the proposed health plan. Mr. Obama is demonstrating very clearly that he does not understand the constitutional role of the presidency. Additionally, he either misunderstands the way government has attempted to drive the United States into third world status, or else he desires this result.
Our Dear Leader still seems oblivious to the fact that the government was the cause of the financial meltdown in the first place. How can we more easily understand the process by which the government caused the financial crisis? I explained in an earlier article that undesired consequences result when the government gets into the game as opposed to restricting itself to its intended role as referee.
Let us suppose a family had just finished preparing a Thanksgiving turkey. They then left it out on the table to cool down while taking a short walk outdoors, leaving their 90-lb. German shepherd at home. Upon returning, they find the remnants of their meal scattered around a very satisfied dog. Whose fault is it that the dinner is ruined?
The government, specifically Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, promoted policies to ensure mortgages for all. Banks were encouraged to lend money to people who had no proof of income and no down payment. The government guaranteed that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would buy the mortgages that were issued. These mortgages can be looked at as the Thanksgiving turkey.
Financial German shepherds could not resist such a tasty treat. They purchased subprime mortgages, repackaging and reselling them for a huge profit. Of course, housing prices skyrocketed, and people who could not afford a 10 percent down payment found themselves in houses worth several hundred thousand dollars with mortgages they could not afford. John Paulson, founder of a New York hedge fund, made $15 billion in 2007 betting on the real estate bust. He tried to warn the government and Wall Street that it was going to happen, but they would not listen.
True, the juicy subprime mortgage turkey was eaten up by the capitalists. However, who was at fault for leaving this irresistible turkey within reach of the free-market German shepherds? Yet, government officials refuse to accept their responsibility for the crisis and claim that only further government intervention will reverse the damage. Cancer cannot cure itself, and government cannot cure the malignancy that it has become.
Government is the cause of the high cost of health care in the United States, and like the mortgage crisis the health-care cost “crisis” cannot be cured by its very cause. Medicare was the first public option, made mandatory because those not enrolled in Medicare are ineligible to receive Social Security benefits. Government options are never optional because the goal of government is to increase dependence on itself.
The passage of Medicare in 1965 was but a step in the incremental takeover of health care by government. Retired individuals were told they could reduce their out of pocket expenses from 50 percent of their health-care bill to 20 percent. Yet, the total cost of medical care rose significantly after Medicare was passed, an effect predicted by the opponents of Medicare at the time. Predicted to cost $7 billion by 1990 it ended up costing $70 billion, or 10 times as much.
The total cost of medical care in the United States from 1965 to 1990 increased nearly tenfold. A $100 medical bill in 1965 would have increased to about $275 by 1990 due to inflation, yet rose to $1,000 as a result of Medicare. Retired people who were paying 50 percent of that $100 medical bill in 1965 were paying 20 percent of a $1,000 bill for the same services by 1990, raising their out of pocket inflation adjusted cost from $137.50 to $200. The cost of medical care for seniors, and for all Americans, is much higher than it would have been if Medicare had never existed.
The health-care plan currently being considered in the Senate will actually result in fewer people being covered by medical insurance. The real number of chronically uninsured Americans is around 12 million, but the plan would leave over 20 million people uninsured. It will increase the cost of providing medical care and will drive costs into the stratosphere, as government “mortgage care” did to housing prices. It will result in significantly increased costs for individuals and businesses and will stifle any hope of economic recovery. The government will then step in again with more legislation and greater control, promising to fix the “crisis” that it has caused and continuing our downward spiral.
We must vote the real turkeys out of office and demand that the government return to constitutional constraints. The government is supposed to prevent and prosecute illegal activity and ensure fair play, not become involved as a competitor against individuals and businesses.
But a Constitution of Government once changed from freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever. When the People once surrender their share in the legislature, and their right of defending the limitations upon the government, and of resisting every encroachment upon them, they can never regain it. – John Adams
With this transgression against the Constitution, the government will be firmly in control of every aspect of the lives of American citizens. We no longer have a government of the people, by the people and for the people. It has become a government of the government, by the government, for the government. And, if we do not reverse course, our country will surely perish from the earth.
Frank S. Rosenbloom, M.D., is board-certified in internal medicine. He practices general internal medicine and hospital medicine in Portland, Ore. He serves as president of Oregon Right to Life and is a contributor for Fresh Conservative. His book on health care, “Lethal Prescription: We must prevent a health-care disaster,” will be in bookstores in early 2010. His website is frankrosenbloom.com.