Government Run Healthcare?

The battle cry of the politicians these days, especially those vying for your vote this election year, is “Universal Healthcare”. Now, I’m all for everyone having access to good health care when they need it. I don’t think someone without health insurance or money for a co-pay should be denied health care. Then again, I don’t think we need to run to the doctor for every little sniffle and paper cut either. But that’s just me.

You have to ask yourself though, what do they mean when they talk about “universal healthcare”? To me, the term indicates the same level of health care for everyone. OK, that’s cool. But when you really listen, they are really talking about health “insurance” for everyone. OK, that’s still cool.

My next question then becomes……………at what cost? And I’m not talking about cost in dollars either. Exactly how much control are we giving up by agreeing to this? Yes, we should do what we can to take care of ourselves and be responsible for our health, I am not denying that at all. But when I see health being judged by a persons BMI I have to wonder. Let’s face it, some people are genetically prone to weigh more or even less than the average person.

Then there is the fact that muscle weighs more than fat. So an athletic person who is fit and toned, or muscular, could, and has been proven, be told they are overweight or even obese, simply because their BMI doesn’t fall into the “approved” range. Take a body builder for example who is about 6 feet tall. He weighs about 250 lbs let’s say. There isn’t an ounce of fat on his body, yet his BMI (height/weight ratio) indicates he is overweight or obese. And who is it that determined what the appropriate height/weight ratio is for every single person?

Bone structure also plays into this big time. Not all size 12 females have the same bone structure. No two people of the same height/weight will wear the same size clothing because of their bone structure. As an example, I am 5 feet 9 inches tall; I weighed 130 lbs in my 20’s and wore a size 12 (tops and bottoms). Years later, after gaining too much weight, I found a diet plan that worked on all parts of my body and got my weight down to 145 lbs (couldn’t seem to get below that) and yet, at that weight, I was wearing a size 8 in skirts and pants. I could wear a size 10 blouse or jacket but it was tight across my shoulders. I looked good at that weight without being skin and bones, and without the fat. My bone structure however is such that my upper body requires a larger size than my lower body when the fat is removed. So, where are all the allowances for these little genetic quirks?

There are people who genes just don’t let them lose or gain weight. Where is the allowance for that in the BMI scheme?

Here’s an example of what such a program could be like. This isn’t from a novel either, but is happening as I write this. From the Junkfood Science blog:

A vision for a healthy state

Do you ever wonder what kind of policy advice the leaders in your state get? The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, which says it’s a free market think tank that advises government leaders on key policy issues and conducts regular opinion polls, produces a daily newsfeed that managers in Wisconsin read each morning.

Today, state administrators received in their inboxes recommendations for a “healthy Wisconsin.”

It’s a vision for the state-run healthcare program, providing universal healthcare coverage for all, modeled after the Wisconsin Works* welfare reform. It was written by political scientist, David Dodenhoff, Ph.D.:

Read the FULL STORY here.

Now I never read George Orwell’s “1984”, but I am now. I found it online and you can read it for free here. Personally, I’m finding it rather depressing. There is nothing really nice about the story at all. However, I noticed something over the past 20 years, and this book written over 50 years ago pretty much confirms what I noticed. Any book or movie I ever read about the “the future” always portrayed the future as dull, dark, and depressing. This book is no different. The picture George Orwell paints of what he perceived the future as back then, is just as depressing. Maybe I find it depressing because most stories about the future are about everyone being under the control of a form of government where freedom and liberty are non-existent. Having grown up in a culture of freedom and liberty, I find that idea depressing not to mention repulsive. And yet, I see our freedoms and liberties being willingly given up by so many today, all for some illusion of ‘safety’ and/or ‘health’ with no guarantee that they will be either safe or healthy.

Back this piece though. Here is a snippet from the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute‘s article:

When Wisconsin reformed welfare, it began spending considerably more on services to help participants find jobs. But it also began demanding more—in particular, universal participation in work. There was a fundamental idea of reciprocity here: we’ll help you, but only if you’re willing to help yourself.

Why shouldn’t the same logic apply to Healthy Wisconsin? Consider this scenario. You’re at an appointment with your Healthy Wisconsin doctor. She gives you a routine physical and finds that your weight is a potential health issue. So, she sets a body mass index (BMI) value that she’d like you to achieve within six months. She also gives you an exercise and nutrition regimen to help you reach your goal. But here’s the catch: if you don’t get within 10 percent of your doctor-recommended BMI in the allotted time, your coverage under Healthy Wisconsin is suspended. You can apply for reinstatement, but only once you’ve achieved your target BMI value. Until then, you’re on your own.

Again, you see the logic of reciprocity: we’ll help you, but only if you’re willing to help yourself.

Now, while this sounds logical and makes sense, consider the implications. Keep in mind, BMI standards were changed which created 30 million new overweight/obese people overnight; Cholesterol level standards where changed, which created thousands, if not millions, of people now considered to have high cholesterol in need of medications. What other standards of “healthy” will be changed in order for the government to control you?

Money of course is at the bottom of all this:

Free health care is an act of beneficence by the state, and by the taxpayers who fund the state. It’s a gift horse. Accordingly, there shouldn’t be any complaining about its teeth. If you want the health care, you’re going to have to deal with the hassle. If you don’t want the hassle, don’t take the health care.

The issue of who pays for what might be a decent argument. But I still have a problem with those who pay or pay more having any control over those who can’t. You hear it today over smoking……non-smokers screaming they shouldn’t have to pay for the healthcare of smokers when they get ill. Yet those same people don’t think that perhaps a person who doesn’t drive or own a car, won’t want to pay for their healthcare should they get into a car accident while driving. Or what about sports injuries? Why should a person who doesn’t engage in sports or even like sports have to pay for those folks who do? What about the infertile couple, those whose children are already adults, or the couple who choose to NOT have children? Should they be forced to cover the healthcare of your sick children? This is a dangerous slope to take and the list of exceptions people can come up with is infinite if you want to use this argument.

Surely there is a way to see that everyone person who needs it, has access to good healthcare. Is THIS the way we really want to do it though? Do we really want to give up all our freedom of choice and liberties for some so-called healthy state? Where’s the guarantee that following all those directives will improve your life or make you live longer? There is NO guarantee about that……………’s all just a crap-shoot!

Yes, we need to find a solution so everyone has good healthcare, but we must also consider the costs involved, in particular we MUST consider the cost of “unintended consequences” which almost always follow the “good intentions” that were implemented.

Remember: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.


~ by swfreedomlover on May 24, 2008.

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