Blogs > Liberty and Power > A Portent of Things to Come

Nov 18, 2009 12:48 pm

A Portent of Things to Come

Many individuals, including myself, believe that the true goal of Barack Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress is a single payer government run health care system. So it is vital that we all understand exactly what that would mean for the American people. A most important question is would the availability and quality of care improve or decline with such a change?

Those who argue that there would be a significant change for the worse are ignored, ridiculed, and labeled as enemies of the state, especially when they point out that a decrease in the accessibility of care would result in an increase in the mortality rate, after all the government would never kill anyone. An overwhelming amount of publicity highlighted a study which claimed that the American system of private insurance led to an extra 45,000 deaths per annum. However, a British report,which argued that the state controlled system in place there caused 17,000 unnecessary fatalities each year in that much smaller country, received very little attention from our biased media. It is essential to determine the creditability of each assertion.

In the article on the American research linked to above they describe the inquiry’s methodology this way: “The researchers examined government health surveys from more than 9,000 people aged 17 to 64, taken from 1986-1994, and then followed up through 2000. They determined that the uninsured have a 40 percent higher risk of death than those with private health insurance as a result of being unable to obtain necessary medical care. The researchers then extrapolated the results to census data from 2005 and calculated there were 44,789 deaths associated with lack of health insurance.” Now, if this description is complete there are two very obvious serious problems with this research. First there does not seem to be consideration of the fact that those without insurance are going have as a group less financial resources and it is a well documented fact that being poor includes all kinds of negative consequences, such as worse food, for ones health that have nothing to do with access to medical care. Many of their deaths can be attributed to factors other than lack of coverage. Secondly, the uninsured includes persons with medical savings accounts, income enough to pay for care themselves, and brother in laws who are doctors they do not have insurance but they have access to medical services. Their deaths can not be attributed to lack of health care but it seems in this analysis they are.

The British data pointing to government caused casualties is more in line with the truth because we can already see the mechanism at work here in America. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force has just recommended that women wait until they are fifty years old before beginning yearly mammograms. This new pronouncement supersedes the government’s old advice that these procedures start when women turn forty. This latest guideline will result in two things, the overall cost of medical care will significantly decrease while the number of women who die of breast cancer will increase.

This afternoon I heard a telephone interview on CNN with one of the members of the panel who asserted that monetary expense played no role in the determination that women wait until fifty before being tested. I find this extremely difficult to believe since both conclusions were reached with the same data set. The only thing that changed between the earlier finding and this latest one is that financial burden of health care has become of intense concern.

The government has always been willing to trade lives for money, why do you think that in the beginning our soldiers were riding around Iraq in vehicles with no armor on the bottom? With the incredibly sorry state of our economy and its prospects the pressure to make this exchange in the medical field will be irresistible.

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