We recall childhood diseases — measles, chicken pox, mumps, –that every child old enough for school was expected to encounter. These were not feared so much as resignedly expected. Any child’s parents had already survived them. No treatment was available; the child was kept at home until the infectious period was past and the child had recovered enough energy to return to school, often to the intense relief of the mother. A rite of childhood passage. Attended in most cases by a visit from (not to) the doctor for a diagnosis. And rural doctors were unsurprised to be compensated with chickens or eggs on occasion.
A doctor then was likely to be in addition to M.D.’s, an osteopath, a chiropractor or if you were a Hispanic, one we might call a witch. They all shared about the same success rate with childhood diseases. Why not? There weren’t any real treatments after all but the child’s immune system, a cure that had been operating for millennial
But two things changed: One was political, the other, technological. Politically, the big bucks invested in M.D.s organized and lobbied for government-bestowed monopoly of health care; the other, science began to provide real understanding and remedies for medical practice. It gradually dawned upon the citizens that M.C.s cured things that others did not. And lawsuits discouraged those “others” from trying, as did criminal prosecutions.
With a monopoly, doctors earned more and so medical schools with their own monopoly on M.D. degrees, charged more. Eggs and chickens didn’t do it anymore, even in the countryside. To bridge that newly created affordability gap, insurers stepped in to share the higher costs among a larger base, making care affordable again since everyone paid a little and only a few were sick.
However, politicians continued to be lobbied by folk envious of the M.D. monopoly; government regulation appeared to “assure fairness and honesty.” That’s reminiscent of hiring the Mafia to keep retailers honest, right?
Once government had control, a government takeover was assured; too much money and power was involved to be ignored. So today, nobody can afford healthcare, including the government. It, after all, has only taxpayers’ money to spend, in the end. Nor can aspiring MD.s afford medical education; they graduate under indentures called “student loans” that keep them economically enslaved for decades. Unless of course, they are black.
Today, in the wake of the triumph that is called: “Obamacare,” nobody can afford healthcare at all; it is functioning upon borrowed and fiat money that has no real existence. Prior to Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid and the rest were operating in deficit; adding coverage of the 20 to 40 million (depending upon whom one believes) unprotected folk has vastly multiplied that deficit. And the Feds have, while imposing price controls upon insurers, also guaranteed them financial protection using taxpayer funds. The joke is of course, that the guarantor government lacks the money with which to make good upon its guarantee. (Pause for laughter.)
The developing government response to what it has created is taking visible shape around us. First, encouraging abortion reduces future demand for expensive healthcare. And it is cheaper to administer, as well. Second and now peeping over the horizon as: “end of life planning” is euthanasia. It too is cheaper than expensive treatment of economically unproductive elderly. And finally and foremost: rationing of services, mostly via lengthy waits and required approvals. And add to those, refusal to provide high cost services (unless of course, one is a Congressman.)
Americans are just transitioning into the joys of the latter conditions; it will be a while before they are as appreciated as they already are in say, Canada, whose citizens that can afford it come to the U.S. for rationed treatments or in the U.L. where the tabloids are still somehow able to report medical horror stories.
We have watched U.S. medical care evolve in the hands of politicians. It was handed them by practitioners seeking advantage to the point that the gears are gummed up, almost immovable from the pouring in of red tape and its inevitable companion, corruption. (Medicare fraud is enormous.)
It will likely take very few years for Americans to notice that they have fallen for a swindle. We are reminded of the Western Saloon scene wherein the cowboy steps up to the bar, saying: “When I drink, everybody drinks!” And he is followed by a rush of folk seeking the free drinks. After tossing down his shot, he then says: “And when I pay, everybody pays!”
That old story doesn’t report what happened after that, but those living in (Your choice: Socialist, Communist, Social Welfare, Senescent Democratic, Progressive) places may watch and see. It’s not as though it has never happened before, after all. Calling upon government to hold off competition and maintain your monopoly is as old as government itself.