Will intelligence, logic lead to right answer?

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 4:28pm
By: Letters to the ...

If two objects the size of basketballs are dropped from a hight of 5,000 feet, which object will hit the ground first? Or, will they hit at the same time? The first object weighs one ton and the second weighs half that much.

Because you are reading this article, I assume that you are intelligent and have the ability to reason logically. However, I, daresay, many of us would miss the correct answer to the above question.

Some of us could be persuaded to pick the wrong answer because of listening to false rhetoric. If my life depended on getting the correct answer and I didn’t have a friend nearby who was a physics expert, I would rather observe the event first, before giving my answer, than to “reason out” that answer in advance.

Because all of us are finite humans and most of us have some prejudices, our reasoning and logic can lead us astray, especially in the area of politics. This is why such a complex issue as the national healthcare bill is best approached by observing what we can see and by evaluating what is already in place.

We have a healthcare system in our country that is second to none in quality. I know this to be a fact, but it is also a fact to be observed by anyone who studies healthcare in other countries (for example, Canada and the United Kingdom).

However, we also have a healthcare system that is more expensive than that of any other country. We spend more than $8,000 per year on each man, woman and child and the average Medicare patient accounts of about $15,000 per year in costs. Healthcare costs have risen five times as fast as the Consumer Index over the last 50 years.

This cannot be continued and is, in fact, the reason that medicine is NOW being rationed. It is rationed to such ways as waiting longer for doctor visits, shorter visits with the doctor, limiting medicines and procedures and denial of benefits. These are observable facts and they have been forced on us by the reality of medical economics.

When the price of a product is taken into consideration relative to its quality and to the consumer’s income, free market capitalism involving direct interaction between the consumer and the supplier always drives the price down. This is true of appliances, cameras, electronics, cars, houses, etc.

As an example, the typical American in the 1950s could only afford a 1,000-square-foot home with no television, few appliances and perhaps one car.

Interaction between the supplier (doctor) and the consumer (patient) is rapidly vanishing within the healthcare industry. Insurance controlled by a third party has replaced this interaction 85 percent of the time; this insurance is usually managed by people who are not physicians or by physicians who don’t routinely see patients.

Buying a car under this scenario would mandate a third party to tell the supplier (car dealer) and consumer (buyer) what car might be purchased and at what price. The price of the car would be artificially high and perhaps the quality low because there would be no competition in the automotive industry to deliver a product that is high in quality and low in price.

I don’t have to depend on my logical reasoning to arrive at these conclusions. I can look at the world around me; the analogies are there and the conclusions are observable.

Is there any hope for our healthcare situation? I believe that there is, if we make decisions based on available observations, enforce these decisions and modify them as needed. Politically, decisions will have to be bipartisan, free from special interests and, most importantly, forced on Congress by the American people.

It will involve several things, one of which is already in place in a minor way — Health Savings Accounts. These will certainly need to be modified and expanded, making them available to all Americans. Also, we desperately need tort reform and the ability to make insurance more competitive by allowing it to be purchased across state lines.

If we successfully achieve these things, we will greatly improve our healthcare system providing quality healthcare for all citizens and perhaps, preserve our economy and freedom in the process.

John Potts, M.D.

Peachtree City, Ga.

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mapleleaf's picture
Submitted by mapleleaf on Wed, 10/21/2009 - 10:37am.

Let’s look at an article published on the front page of Section D of the Atlanta paper on Tuesday, Oct. 20. The title is “Hospital bills can make you really ill.”

When you read this article, you are reminded that hospitals can charge a patient $600 for an intravenous dye that costs them $14. Or $11 for a box of facial tissue (disposable mucus recovery system) that would cost $1.29 at a drug store. Or $15 for an ice pack (thermal therapy). Tylenol for $140. $30 for a thermometer.

That’s why we need health insurance. Insurance companies don’t put up with stuff like this. Neither does Medicare. They’ll take a $10,000 hospital bill and settle it for under $2,000.

The mafia sells “protection.” So do insurance companies when it comes to health care. We all need protection. The question is, do we want it from them, or from the government?

S. Lindsey's picture
Submitted by S. Lindsey on Wed, 10/21/2009 - 11:33am.

take a look at Medicare cost...

They will pay $6,000.00 for a Wheelchair that cost $900.00.
In home Hospital beds.. Medicare $ 12,300.. Actual $1565.00

Government run Healthcare is no different.. Remember the $900.00 hammer? Government can not and will not spend wisely.. HSA's is the way we should go..

"A Government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have." Thomas Jefferson

Submitted by PTC Observer on Thu, 10/22/2009 - 10:57am.

Here are the facts, sorry for the formatting problem here but I think you can get the point:

Year Predicted Cost Actual
Medicare 1965 $12 Billion $110 B
Medicare Hosp 1965 9 B $ 67 B
Hospitalization 1987 1 B $ 17 B
Home Care 1988 4 B $ 10 B

Schip 1997 5.4 B $6.8 B

All numbers are inflation adjusted
Sources: Medicare Trustees Report;House Ways and Means Committe report; Congressional Budget Office.

And there are folks out there that still believe these characters.

The lesson is that, once established, all federal benefit programs grow beyond all expectations. A vote for a new federal program will lead to higher deficits and higher taxes, count on it.

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