World Should Catch Up With Our Health Care

World Should Catch Up With Our Health Care

By Jay Ambrose - October 12, 2009

The next time you see one of these oh, so morally concerned politicians, academics or book-hustling authors preaching on TV that we really ought to catch up with the rest of the advanced world on health care, talk back to the to the set, shout out that it's mostly lies, and make the opposite case.

The rest of the world ought to catch up with us.

It's true, you know, despite the mountain of misinformation thrown our way about our short, miserable lives, the inadequacy of treatment here, the impossibility of some getting care at all, the runaway insurance company profits, the number of those who aren't covered, our dismay with what we have and the contention that the Obama-Democratic solution will mean all the headaches are a thing of the past.

Despite what almost seems a conscious effort to keep the facts properly subdued and tucked out of sight, the truth has been worming its way to the sunshine. Now it's clear, as one example, that longevity is only partially connected to health care in the first place and that when you subtract homicides and accidents, we in America live longer than anyone, despite President Obama's constant reiteration of the reform-encouraging and utterly deceptive thesis that we do not.

We know that our treatments of serious disease produce better outcomes than elsewhere in the world, that everyone can get treatment at least in emergency rooms, that most Americans are satisfied with their care, that insurance net profits are a relatively low 3.3 percent and that the actual number of citizens without access to insurance is closer to 10 million than the 46 million number so often heard. We also know that Medicare and Medicaid have accumulated trillions of dollars in obligations to future recipients that we have no way of paying.

Fixing those programs is a task rendered virtually impossible by piling new hundreds of billions of giveaway dollars on top of what the government is now spending, thereby emulating socialist health systems abroad. When you make something cheap to the point of being virtually free, the demand for it goes up enormously, severe rationing takes place and instead of everyone being splendidly taken care of, you have many left to suffer and even die.

Some of those who argue differently are simply turning their back on reports from credible sources and are giving themselves away with their own inaccuracies and their insistence that all Americans have a "right" to insurance. Fundamental familiarity with the language of political philosophy instructs you that a "right" is something government is not permitted to do to you, such as take away your freedom of speech, not some object or thing that that government bestows on you through its coercive powers.

It's no small matter, this confusion over basic concepts, but one that threatens to undermine productive values, as in instructing small businesses that they have to provide insurance even if that means they must then cease operations. The confusion can result in restricting drug company profits, as even the Swiss do with a less statist health plan than most in Europe. The consequence of these restrictions is less innovation. With a high degree of freedom, American drug companies have developed three-fourths of the world's new life-saving drugs in recent decades, preventing countless premature deaths.

The sorts of things being discussed by Democrats won't achieve half of what advocates are pretending and will almost certainly impose serious problems, which is not the same as saying nothing should be done. Economist Martin Feldstein of Harvard has written of an idea in which we use the $220 billion federal tax subsidy for employer-provided insurance to pass on to families for purchase of policies paying medical expenses exceeding 15 percent of income. No extra federal dollars need be allocated and with a few other prudent moves, we will be that much more an example that foreign nations should want to copy.

Scripps Howard News Service

Keeping Your Health Law Plan May Mean Premium Hike
Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar · November 14, 2014
Calling the Bluff on Obamacare
Froma Harrop · November 13, 2014
Obamacare vs. Scaliacare
E.J. Dionne · November 13, 2014

Jay Ambrose

Author Archive

Follow Real Clear Politics

Latest On Twitter