Democrats appeal to us to support their health care reform efforts telling us our selfish interests of lower health insurance premiums will be met. Republicans tell us that the Democrats will take away the health care so many have. Big money interests from the insurance and medical industries have their roles to play, and around we all seem to go on health care reform.
But, where is the sense of charity in health care these days? Take Greenwood’s Self Regional Hospital. It was created as Self Memorial Hospital, in honor of James Self, the founder of Greenwood Mills, who donated money to create a hospital for his hometown. Self never intended for that hospital to become a for profit entity that made doctors and hospital administrators relatively wealthy.
The Self story is told around the nation. Hospitals that once were ran by charitable organizations and local governments have increasingly become for profit venues. Certainly, those well meaning people who gave so much of their own wealth to establish health care facilities did not envision those facilities becoming profit centers that created big salaries for administrative workers on the backs of the sick.
Indeed, just a generation or two ago, an uninsured man could have heart surgery, for example. His friends and church could raise the money to cover the bill if need be. Now, well meaning friends and churches might raise money, but they will likely not come close to paying the bill. The reason is simple. In times past, the bill was to pay doctors and nurses and minimal administrative costs. No one was looking to get rich or keep big payrolls. Today, medical administrative costs are higher than the actual cost of seeing a doctor. Doctors have to charge more than ever to cover medical liability insurance costs.
Various reasons are offered for the situation as it is. Some contend that Americans, weary of taxes, resent the poor and the sick. Others contend that the loss of manufacturing revenues in the economy have shifted the jobs to service, such as administrative costs. The latter argues that cutting those costs dramatically would result in an economic depression, as millions around the nation would be laid off. Others argue that there is simply no incentive for charitable medical activity. With soaring liability insurance costs, and the need to hire administrative employees to cover all the state and federal regulations, charitable medical care simply cannot operate well.
As charities often do not write campaign checks to Congressional or Presidential candidates, it is little wonder that incentives for charitable health care is not addressed. As Barry Goldwater once warned, big government has become the big payoff for so many. There is no easier way for big business to get big government to pay them off than with health care. Health care is often not a rational economic choice made by the consumer. If you are having a heart attack, you do not have the luxury of shopping for the cheapest venue to have your by-pass surgery. As such, health care profiteers seize upon the most vulnerable in their time of need and get paid.
While some might debate, with validity, the cons of a public health care system, there is something wrong with a government that seems so hostile to charity based health care. Just who benefits from big government, ran by big lobbyists, running health care?
Further, the health care industry enjoys a status that other for profit essential industries do not. Think on it. Your local electricity provider has the same monopoly in your region as your local hospital. The difference is your local electricity provider has to be open with its activities and go before the Public Service Commission to change the rates it charges you. If we have the ability to know, through a public venue, why our electric bills go up, then why can’t we know through the same public venue, why our health care costs go up?
The answer is simple. It is not conservative or liberal. It is financial. Big money controls the health care debate on both the state and federal levels. Especially in tough economic times, when people are making choices to spend less of their money, lobbying to get government to make them spend more on a basic need like health care is more important than ever to the health care profiteers. In such a circumstance, charities must be squeezed so that the for profit health care industry gets paid.
A limited government role in health care would prevent lobbying power. But, that seems to have passed by. America seems committed, through its elected officials on both sides of the aisle, to big government having a big role in health care. Thus, charities are squeezed out, the average person suffers, and the lobbyists write so called reform that, from the current bill, seems to all but force Americans to pay some health care insurance company. It is one of the biggest shakedowns of all time.