We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Anytime the government gets involved in do-gooder projects, they screw it up.
Their motive is generally some combination of "caring" and vote-buying, and the effect is usually a reduction of freedom and choice, a diminution of personal responsibility, and numbers of people working the system.
I am not convinced that there is any huge national demand for more government involvement in medical care. We already have Medicaid for the poor, and Medicare for both the wealthy and the non-wealthy older folks. More and more doctors are opting out of Medicare, though. I no longer accept it, mainly because the coding is impossible to understand, and if I make a mistake, it is a felony. I would rather offer charity when needed, as docs have done forever. But I no longer do any costly procedures.
However, medical practice has changed, and the costs of procedures is large. Every responsible person should have Major Medical coverage these days unless you are so wealthy that paying $20,000 for a bypass, or $16,000 for a hospital stay after being hit by a truck, or $100,000 for a dubiously-effective long drawn out treatment for metastatic cancer, is easy for you to pay out of the checking account.
In addition to the costs of running a hospital these days, and the cost of procedures, there is no doubt that concerns about law suits have increased the cost of medical care. Prudent and practical medical judgement becomes replaced by fear-driven decisions, resulting in enormously expensive tests in search of the 1-in-10,000 possibility. Thus, between the costs of malpractice insurance and the cost of low-probability tests, trial lawyers, insurance companies, and hospitals are the beneficiaries of medical insurance. They all get paid.
Who are the people who really "need" Major Medical insurance, but lack it? Not the poor - they are covered. Not the over-65 - they are covered by their under-65 neighbors via Medicare taxes. Not the prosperous - they buy it, or are insured through work. It's the under-65 non-poor (and their families) who have either not arranged their lives in such a way as to buy or to obtain coverage through work - and illegals.Plus those with chronic problems who cannot buy insurance and are unemployed. That is who we are talking about when we talk about the "uninsured." In Mass., most of the uninsured turn out to be young single men who don't want to spend the money on it - their foolish choice should not be our problem. A healthy married couple, both working at Walmart, with a family income of $56,000, can certainly afford to buy medical coverage, although it might mean driving an older car.
In my opinion, any medical insurance law ought to recognize that those are the targets for it. Also, any medical insurance law should be Major Medical - with a choice of deductibles anywhere between $500-10,000. And no coverage for quackery and elective things such as chiropractic, yogurt enemas, homeopathy, gym memberships, abortions, routine check-ups, herbal wraps and massage "therapy." While everyone wants a free lunch, there is none. Somebody pays the bill - either you, or your next-door neighbor pays it for you.
As I always say, if you want to have a body, and kids, then figure out how to take care of them. It's part of being a grown-up. Do what you have to do, and make good choices. Life is hard. Nobody promised us a rose garden. Utopian dreams of government "solutions" usually end up turning into nightmares, while emptying our pockets, nurturing an un-American sub-culture of weakness, dependency and entitlement, and reducing our freedom.
If you cannot take care of kids, or would rather buy a new car, do not have kids. It's your choice. They can be expensive, but do not dump their expenses on your next-door neighbor. That is lame unless, due to grieveous misfortune, you need charity. Americans love charity, but they hate to be ripped off by people with options.
Kesler has a follow-up piece on the Mass. laws, looking at its shortcomings. And a conservative Mass. reader offers a fine rant in our Comments about the unwelcome burdens of government's efforts to do things for him.
Recent posts on the subject: Scroll down. Other pieces we have done on the subject here and here.
Image: MRI of the head. Cost: $400-800. There happens to be a brain inside that one.
Thanks for the informative article on the MA universal health care experiment. It will not work unless MA can dump the majority of the costs on the federal government. And this will only work until other states follow suit and want their "free" health care too. At that point it fails; service is limited, treatments and procedures are rationed, and the amount and quality of health care spirals downward.
I have been in the UK, Australia, NZ, and Canada and that is the pattern. No country has yet been able to meet the exponential demand for services with limited resources. And none will. In the previously mentioned countries what happens is the working taxpayers pay for nationalized health care which is generally poor and limited and they also pay for private insurance to get the care they need. This is a double tax and half the service.
Watch the MA experiment and see how quickly they shift the burden to the federal gorernment and when rationing etc. start.