Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Reform You Can Believe In

I got an email today from the president asking me to help him out of a jam.  Specifically, he said, “Tom I need your voice on health care.”   I was kind of busy, but  decided to take a cue from Governor Huntsman and do for my country what the president asks just because he asks.   It’s the kind of American I want to be.  No matter that I know nothing about health care reform and have nothing to add to the debate.  That hasn’t stopped anybody else.  So, Mr. President, here’s my voice.

The biggest thing people seem to fear about health care reform is that the government is going to get involved in our medical decisions and mess everything up.  Step back and think about this for a minute.  Our current health care system is unwieldy, mismanaged, unfair, expensive and inefficient.  In other words it essentially is a government program already.   We could make the switch over a weekend and nobody would even notice.   Instead of calling some 25 year old business graduate at your HMO and arguing with her over the prescriptions your doctor thinks you should have but she doesn’t, you could be calling some 25 year old social science graduate in a government agency doing the same thing.

Insurance companies give a six inch thick manual to all the people who answer their phones.  It’s called The Big Book of No.  Somewhere in it is a reason to decline any request whether trivial or life-threatening.  Sort of like the IRS or FEMA.   Putting incompetent people into key decision making positions – a public sector specialty – would not fix any of the problems, but it would finally provide an understandable reason for them. 

If you annoy your insurance company they can simply drop your coverage and stop taking your calls.    What is a government run health care program going to do if you tweak them off – deport you?   If you get a particularly surly government account manager or health care provider you can always write an angry letter to your senator or congressman.  [I just had a moment of clarity about why the House and Senate aren’t wild about health care reform.  You really are all alone out there on this.  No wonder you wrote to me.]

In short, and in conclusion, Mr. President, nationalizing our health care system will accomplish one huge and unlikely thing.  It will take all the fear, loathing and anxiety now directed in a hundred scattered directions around our health care world and focus it on one person:  You, sir.  But if you can take, I’ll do my best as well.   It’s just the kind of American I am. 

I hope this did some good, Mr. President.  If you ever need me for anything else you have my email address.


Blogger Taylor said...

I just found out Single Payer (the system described above) is off the table. So, instead of one giant gov agency, we get 50 if they do it by state.

The extra bonus in this case is that every state will do it different! Plus they don't even get the 'bulk membership' discount.

Hooray for complete mediocrity!

12:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a great health care program.. it costs me nothing and pays 80% to 90 % of everything. Why would I want the government to get involved? I show up to work sober and do a good job. I took this job because of the perks. I spoze it will go away like my free use of credit cards because I pay my balance every month. People doing well and being responsible are being asked to pay for those that are not. This is NOT what America is spoze to be about.

4:02 AM  
Blogger JLeonid said...

Love this blog Tom. Kudos. Dittos. And Amen.
Supposedly the main problem with health care is high costs. But it's not. It's self-interest. Everybody on every side has a life/death interest in this issue. And where survival is at stake, humans have never been particularly good at compromise (let alone revenue sharing).
People with the power to change things aren't willing to lose anything in the process. And people like me, who work full-time and still can't afford health insurance? Well, Canada doesn't look bad to us.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Ethan said...

I think its pretty short sighted for "anonymous" to say that I'm not being responsible. I work full time, take care of my family, volunteer in the community, root for the home team, etc. but I still don't have coverage for myself. I'm not necessarily saying I'm entitled, just that I'm not irresponsible.

12:04 PM  

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