A personal view of the health care crisis

Dara is the kind of person who when you meet her, you feel like you’ve known her forever.  She has a husband who is equally as kind, fun, and hardworking.  And boy, do they work hard.  They have 3 daughters, ages 10, 15, and 16.  Dara worked her way up the ladder and went from being an RN to owning her own assisted living facility, along with her husband.  In just one year’s time, they became the 3rd highest ranked Assisted Living Home in the city of Federal Way.  I’m so proud to know them and call them friends.  It truly takes special people to do what they do.

Like many people in this country, Dara and her husband cannot afford health insurance for their family.  As small business owners, they pay over $20,000 in taxes every year.  She’s “tried every place”, as many people say they have.  Because of pre-existing conditions and the number of people in their household, nothing less than around $2000 per month is all she can find.

So, when their daughter got sick she did what any parent would do and took her to the doctor’s, prepared to pay whatever out of pocket expenses were incurred.

The doctor they take their kids to is ran by a nurse practitioner.  They charge a flat rate of $65 because in her [the nurse practitioner] words, she is “tired of people not being able to afford to see a medical professional.”  She and her husband appreciate that she takes the time in her already over-packed schedule to give them suggestions for keeping their costs as low as possible.  She has been in practice for years and years and she is “sickened” by what’s happening in our health care industry.

After a $65 doctor visit, she went to Walgreen’s to pick up her prescription.  This is where the madness really begins.  There were four people in line ahead of her.  When the cashier rang up each of their prescriptions up, their totals were “Zero,” to quote the cashier.

I have to point out that none of these people spoke English.  Now, I do this not because I am a racist or a bigot (although I’m sure that’s what some who don’t know me will accuse me of), but it does dredge up many emotions and even many cases of out and out abuse of our system.  Yes, yes.  It is possible that they are here legally.  Can we stop spending any more time on this point?  Thank you.

After mulling over the reality that none of her experience that day was going to be free, she asked the cashier why these people had no prescription co-pay.  “Oh, it’s because DSHS covered their prescriptions in full,” replied the cashier.

Is it just me  or does something about Dara’s experience make you a little sick to your stomach?

Because I’m a person who strongly believes that, “The government which governs least, governs best. (Thomas Paine)”,  I don’t believe more government intervention is the remedy to this obvious injustice.  Rather, is it possible that less government involvement in our health care system is the answer?

Government waste has become the status quo.  Politicians are always talking about how to cut “waste” when rather they should probably ask themselves how any of them agreed to fund the waste in the first place; all at our expense.

We’ve all seen the cases of DSHS abuse, in Washington State.  Remember the King 5 story in which it was revealed that 20,465 separate withdrawals of welfare cash were made in Washington State casinos?  Did you know that it was later revealed that 20% of the 68,000 welfare cash clients had made at least one withdrawal at a casino with their EBT (electronic benefit transfer) card?

Benefit cards are being sold on Craigslist, and even people not living in Washington State are benefiting from our tax dollars[1].  Some were even using their EBT cards at strip clubs [2].

The issue of illegal immigration is one that some don’t want to talk about.  Why?  I do not know.  At a time when budget shortfalls threaten the sovereignty of nearly every state and every dime of taxpayer money is needed to fund legitimate programs and policies, I think it’s critical to delve into the fact that yes, even illegal aliens are receiving health care benefits.

Again, it doesn’t mean the persons involved in the above example were illegal, but I will use the opportunity (yes, I said it) to talk about a growing epidemic in our country at a time when we simply cannot afford it.

Republican Deputy Floor Leader

Mike Carrell State Senator (R-WA)

In an excellent report from State Senator Mike Carrell (R-28th District, Pierce County), it’s been revealed that at least $272 million is being spent annually on benefits for illegals.  The welfare benefit to children of undocumented workers alone is $80 million.  To put this into perspective, our state’s budget [WA] shortfall this year is projected to be about $5 billion.

On the flip side of this story, is the fact that Dara and her family can’t afford health insurance.  Aside from the research of new drugs, clinical trials, administrative costs, salaries, and health care worker benefits, what makes buying health insurance so expensive?

78 million, the oldest of the “Baby Boomers”, are set to retire soon[3].  Health care costs are rising at a rate that is significantly outpaced (about 2.5%) with inflation[4].  Funding for health care is at about a 50/50 split between the private and public sector (17% of GDP on the public side).  Technology can even be blamed for the sharp rise in health care costs because oftentimes, the benefits to it can be considered somewhat modest.  This meaning that the old way worked just fine but there’s a fancy new contraption that will do it for you in half the time but costs 10 times as much.

Then there’s the argument that allowing people to purchase health insurance across state lines would increase competition.  Competition has always been a great thing that helps to keep costs low and service at a high level.  Why shouldn’t this logic be applied to the purchasing of health insurance?  Good question.  Well, if you ask our current Administration, they propose that their version of health care reform does just that; encourages competition.  That’s another argument for another day.

Then there’s the four letter word (OK, not really) “regulation.”  Enter the government’s solution and you’re looking at 429 Pages of New Regulations Wrought from 6 Pages of Obamacare.  This ties in with the competition argument and without going into it too much, simply means that more regulations mean that the cost of doing business also goes up.

Really, with all of the factors stated above, it is a “Perfect Storm” for an unsustainable course that those in charge would gleefully have us go down all under the guise of a “moral obligation” and a “human right”.

So, what can we draw from all of this?  The “Walgreen’s Incident” may be caused by underlying issues with DSHS; a state problem.  The fact though that her family cannot afford health insurance may be caused in large part due to actions taken on the federal level.  At the end of the day though, the hindrance is the same: Big Government.

If the Democrats had it their way, the “public option” would compete with the private health care industry.  Although some would argue that with the government writing the regulation for the healthcare industry is nothing more than a case of the fox guarding the chicken coop.

If Republicans have their way, will they continue denying there is even a problem?  Will they continue to “kick the can down the road”?  Sure, they might get tort reform but do any of these solutions wholly address the real problem?

It makes you wonder if anyone in Washington has ever put their ego aside long enough to consider that perhaps they are the problem and not the solution.  Regardless of which side you may be on, remember that most of them fundamentally believe that the government can “fix” the health care problem in our country.

Can anyone show me in the U.S. Constitution where it says that it is the government’s job to interfere with private industry to such an extent that even those who crave self-reliance are almost left with no choice but to beg them for a solution?

Can you also show me anywhere in the U.S. Constitution where it is the government’s “moral obligation” to provide entitlement benefits to persons who aren’t even in the country legally?  Better yet, show me where it says the government is morally obligated to provide entitlement programs to anyone on the taxpayer’s dime?

I feel like a broken record but I’ll say it again: I fervently believe that we are to take care of those who truly cannot care for themselves.  And I’m sorry but if you’ve done drugs your whole life and now you’re too unhealthy to work; that’s your own tough luck and you don’t fit that bill.  Yes, I’m mean and heartless.  Excuse me for recognizing that not everyone can be saved and preferring rather, to take care of the 88 year old Alzheimer’s patient who worked until the age of 65 and raised 5 productive children.

So what is the solution besides what we’ve discussed above?  How about a program that pools everyone’s funds (or premiums, if you will) together and helps everyone pay outright, the medical expenses we all inevitably incur?  No bureaucracy.  No corruption; just an honest & ethical organization whose foundation is built on Biblical principles. One that simply practices the commandment to, “Love thy neighbor” (Matt 22:39), on a daily basis.

Enter an organization called Christian Healthcare Ministries.  Around for 29 years, customers pay monthly premiums with no contracts.  If their money goes unused by the payer, it is used to pay the bills of others.  This does not solve the crisis of rising health care costs entirely but it is a great start, in my opinion.

I can repeat Ronald Reagan’s words “Government is not the solution to our problem.  Government is the problem.” until I’m blue in the face.  How can anyone think that it is though when you look at these statistics?

Stories like Dara’s are all too common across the country.  We have to find better and more innovative solutions to the health care crisis. The path we are on is unsustainable.  More government is not and cannot be the answer.  Did you know that it is projected that by the year 2052, all tax revenues will go toward entitlement programs?[5] .  This statistic alone should have you craving another solution.

Finding abuse and corruption where it exists is obviously essential to ensuring that our tax dollars are not further wasted on undeserving programs and people.  The method of achieving this goal can be debated but it’s no longer acceptable to just tolerate government waste at any level.  We owe it to ourselves and more importantly, to our future generations.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Dara Mandeville
    Apr 14, 2011 @ 00:14:06

    I couldn’t have said it better myself!!!!!! What a mess!!!!!

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