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  • There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch (or Health Care)

    The news from Hawaii that the state is ending its experiment in universal health coverage for children may well be the timely warning that Washington needs to avert bankruptcy. Hawaii has learned what some have known all along–that the cost of free care is unaffordable. The AP reports:

    “People who were already able to afford health care began to stop paying for it so they could get it for free,” said Dr. Kenny Fink, the administrator for Med-QUEST at the Department of Human Services. “I don’t believe that was the intent of the program.”

    Does that sound familiar? That is precisely what Heritage warned against in last year’s debate on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Shifting the cost from the private sector to the public sector does not increase insurance rates, it, well, merely passes the cost around like a proverbial hot potato. Hawaii demonstrates the issue has become expansion of public benefit programs as a means of redistributing income rather than about making health care affordable.

    One wonders whether other states also pursuing universal coverage are listening. The budget crisis in California has diverted the state at least temporarily from the same path. Illinois is already spending itself into oblivion and routinely has found it is incapable of paying its Medicaid bills on time over the past few years. New Jersey is lobbying Washington for an increase in the federal contribution to Medicaid while at the same time expanding coverage with state only funds.

    Senator Obama’s proposal for universal coverage of children including mandates and expansion of Medicaid and SCHIP has always been shaky for lack of specifics. How do mandates work if there are no penalties as he responded in the most recent debate? His home state of Hawaii and adopted state of Illinois demonstrate his proposals won’t work.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch (or Health Care)

    1. KANAYO LALA, ACTON, says:

      I am one of the voluntarily uninsured in Massachusetts.

      I as a professional who carries a mandatory professional liability insurance and a typical auto operator has a mandatory auto-insurance, know that insurance policy comes with rules to follow and have dos and don'ts. Who will argue that?

      So how come no such thing for the Health Insurance?

      The reason the cost of obtaining insurance keeps going up is NO PREVENTION and Education of the younger generation for the PREVENTION.

      No measures other than educating young to follow PREVENTIVE METHODS will reduce the demand on facilities and eventually cost of providing the service.

      TAX DOLLARS can only provide education for PREVENTION as others(DOCTORS AND HOSPITALS) are not INTERESTED IN preventions.

      FDA will have to ban the toxic foods / unhealthy foods / unhealthy processes / over the counter drugs / etc / etc.

      Hope Mr Daschle & company will pay attention to this measure.

      Poor health is the 1/3rd cause of present economic troubles.

    2. Jim, Wisconsin says:

      The last thing you want is more goverment intervention and rules, I believe the young people need to be educated by the school system and their parents not by any government body that starts banning everything that is bad for us. The public school system has to start teaching kids not indoctrinating them. There are so many adults that have gone thru the same system that their kids are going thru I really don't think anything will change for the good. Anybody that thinks that the government is looking out for the people is sadly mistaken and must have gone the same school system.

    3. John 55, Fort Belvio says:

      All, healthcare will be the number one issue in America in the next 25 years along with oil prices. As the baby booomer's retirement reach its peak, the demand for healthcare will surpass the supply. What does that mean? It means that capitalist healthcare will FAIL and most Americans will not have the resources to obtain good or decent healthcare. Current healthcare system will not be able keep up with the demand.

      So, what do we do it about it? If we go universal healthcare, we will be no better off. Look north to the Canada. Huge taxes and access to healthcare facility is ridiculous. Maybe we should allow government regulation? Then again, it may lower the quality of care, no incentive for providers to maintain high quality when everyone is getting the same amount. Besides, the rate of nurses retiring and lack of nurses graduating will add to the shortage of healthcare providers

      A possible solution: everyone must have healthcare insurance just like car insurance. Keep a salary CAP on providers and government must assist to fund research & development to keep cost down.

      Reality: there really is no answer. Cost is the main the driving factor as US spends incredible amount of money on drug & equipment (tech) development, while other countries merely copy what we descovered.


    4. KANAYO LALA, ACTON, says:

      Thanks to Jim and John for your response.

      The word "Health-care" is never understood by me correctly. Will some one define it?

      My understanding so far in my life by HEALTH-CARE is to learn and implement the right life style to stay healthy. I was falling sick with allergy attacks in my first 3 years in this country (1986-89). I changed my life style drastically after that and to-date since 1989 I have been on sick leave for only half of a day. I do not take any medicines. Food is my medicine. Any one can explore WEB and find answers to CAUSES of any disease as there has been so much research published in past 50 years. What BIO-TECH industry is doing is finding methods to earn money from those who do not care for these causes and keep giving them same placebos in a NEW PACKAGE every day in the name of new research.

      People think that there is a magic pill that will take away their problem for good even though they keep doing the wrong thing which gave them the problem.

      I believe the HEALTH-CARE system should not be just to give pills and surgeries to sick.

      I have an acquaintance who has gone through three blockage surgeries one every 10 years. Why? Because he does not change his life style.

      So why healthy insureds keep paying the repeated mistakes. Thats why the Insurance System will not work till it comes with a Code of Conduct like AUTO INSURANCE.

      No one wants to talk about it but every one wants a free fix to their problems.

      Tax Dollars run schools and I 100% agree that the elementary school must provide a mandatory education on the Methods of PREVENTION and the Parents must be included in it.

      Not only educating children but must get them passing grade on implementing the lessons learned. Otherwise any other education which not used will go waste.

      We can not live without rules, police, judges and prisons in this society. Healthy living style is no exception and is one of these social issues we have to learn and teach at young age who eventually otherwise will be in the surgeon's operation theater in about 40 years of eating sweet poison.


    5. Steve K David says:

      Nice article.

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