First of all, let me state that I never use this forum to talk politics except as it relates to health. It's not that I'm apolitical; it's just that the purpose of the Baseline of Health® Foundation is to improve the health of its readers, not to change their political opinions. With that said…
Presidential candidate John Edwards unveiled his version of a universal healthcare proposal today. And like Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama before him, it's utter nonsense. In summary, the plan offers to:
- Increase the quality of healthcare.
- Provide coverage for everyone in the country.
- And save money in the process.
What's not to like?
- Well, first of all, you can't improve the quality of health care if everyone is making themselves sicker by the day. Think about it. Which provides a better state of health: getting diabetes and taking drugs to slow down its ravages of your body or never getting diabetes at all? You would think the answer was a no-brainer. Apparently not. The bottom line is that you can't improve the quality of healthcare until people stop using it at no cost for self-inflicted diseases.
- In a sense, healthcare is governed by the rules of physics, or in this case the Law of the Conservation of Healthcare and Dollars, which states:
- The total quantity of healthcare and dollars available in the universe is a fixed amount and never any more or less. If you offer healthcare to more people, you have to offer less of it to each of them – or as it's known in England and Canada, long wait times for elective surgery.
- Of course, if people start taking care of themselves so that they individually need fewer services, you could then redistribute the unused care to cover everyone. But as long as people keep choosing to make themselves sicker and sicker with self-inflicted diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, there isn't enough money in all the universe to provide quality healthcare for everyone.
And how is John Edwards going to pay for his program?
- He's going to cut costs. Oh please! Where have we heard that one before? And when has government ever cut costs?
- He's also going to encourage the drug companies to produce new innovative drugs that cure all manner of terrible diseases by taking away their patents and offering them one-time cash payments instead. My goodness! That should provide more incentive than the drug companies can handle. Not!
- And he's going to “require” health insurance companies to spend at least 85% of their premiums on patient care. Note: Of course, John Edwards himself has worked hard in the past to make that impossible. As a trial attorney he made his fortune suing doctors for malpractice, helping to drive healthcare costs for non-patient related services (i.e., malpractice insurance) through the roof.
Hey, all complaining aside, hat's off to the Democrats. At least they're debating the issue, even if all of their suggestions are utter nonsense. The Republicans have completely avoided the topic – all except Ron Paul. Ron Paul's approach to healthcare is quite different from the Democrats. He sees almost no role for government in providing healthcare. I'm not sure that's either practical or generous. However, his position on the use of dietary supplements is spot on and should be adopted by every politician in every country in the world. Here is an excerpt:
- The real issue is not whether supplements really work, or whether FDA drugs really are safe. The real issue is: Who decides, the individual or the state? This is the central question in almost every political issue. In free societies, individuals decide what medical treatments or health supplements are appropriate for them.
You gotta love it.