Labor Law Guy

For All of You Who Think Health Care Reform=Free Care, Read On

Posted in Federal Labor Law, Random Musings by laborlawguy on March 6, 2009

Click on Image for Interactive Map

I just read a polling result that said three out of four Americans now favor health care reform. That’s all well and good, but I bet you that at least three of every four who said they favored reform also believed that it meant they would soon be getting health care for free, or that Obama would somehow find a way to soak the rich to pay for everyone else. You know, Obama waves his magic wand, and soon you can just walk into the doctor’s office and walk out with free treatment and free medicine, or you you can just check into the hospital, get all fixed up and never hear from their accounting department.

I’d say that the vast majority of those favorable respondents to the poll are going to be rudely awakened under “reformed” health care when they find they must buy the insurance themselves or, if they get it at work, pay taxes on it as income. Plus, they’ll be shocked when they’re told by some faceless bureaucrat in D.C. that the service or medicine they want isn’t cost effective and thus they can’t have it.

Anyway, without tackling doctors and hospitals and putting them on restricted, set budgets, there’s no way anyone in D.C. can make health care as we know it “affordable.” It’s all a big hoax (unless you’re on Medicaid because you’re dirt poor, then it’s both “affordable” and “free”).

 The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, a massive study of health care in every region of the country, tracked Medicare costs per patient per city and region over time. The researchers found that, in areas with more hospitals and more specialized testing facilities, physicians ordered more tests, jacking up the costs often needlessly. In contrast, in areas (rural, etc.) where there was no glut of test facilities, costs went down while residents often got better care.

Sure enough, by doing away with both duplicative and needless tests and office visits, you can begin to lower costs around the country, or at least even them all out, but this is where that faceless bureaucrat comes in: Someone has to dictate what can’t and can’t be done and what will and won’t be paid for, or doctors and patients will continue to avail themselves of everything at their disposal.

That’s the dirty little “R” word that no one dare utter in D.C.–rationing. It’s the lynchpin, obviously, of any nationalized health reform; everything sinks without it.

Anyway, the Dartmouth Project is interesting to study. There’s a link to the text explanation in the title above, and you can click on the map image to open up an interactive tool to compare health care costs region by region and city by city. A good way to while away some idle time at work anyway, so go for it.

4 Responses

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  1. Jeff Womack said, on March 6, 2009 at 11:17 am

    You can definitely expect all the ding dongs in this country will have a rude awakening. It was like Jesse Ventura (Minnesota state governor). Every ghetto wrestling fan out there voted for him but when he got to office they all found out they weren’t getting anything but getting all their benefits taken away for being lazy. Of course being a wrestling fan does not make you lazy though think of the typical demographic that watches it.

    Anyways nothing is free and your right, no body on capital hill will ever utter the word ration. Keep cost the same or raise them is their point of view. Basically they decide their own inflation. Needless to say Obama supporters (not me) will be very disappointed the black Jesus didn’t save them. Take care of your self is my motto

  2. John Otto said, on March 6, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Interesting. I have a sister that works as an RN at a large testing medical facility in southern california. My brother-in-law recently had some seeing issues that he has been complaining about for the last two months. He has been complaining something is seriously wrong but she supported the doctors decision to go through all the testing…some of which sounded pretty pointless. I don’t think she was advocating business on purpose for the means of her paycheck but following what is accepted routine…now perhaps uncessary routine. Ultimately, he lost his vision temporarily but got it back after 20mins. However, after a visit to the emergency room he got his license pulled for possible seizures. Of course he’s pissed because it will take him a minimum 6 months to get his license back and this could have been addressed and possibly stopped 2 months earlier.

  3. Todd Gladis said, on March 8, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    I hear about this all the time. Doctors are ringing up the bill on us just for their benefit when in the end it will destroy us all. Capitalism is great but you would think there would need to be more control than what we currently have.

  4. laborlawguy said, on March 10, 2009 at 6:47 am

    I think the real ding dongs in the country are on Capitol Hill, Jeff.

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