President Obama's September 9th speech to Congress advocating his health care restructuring plan suffered from a key and fatal flaw. His mistake is one that, unfortunately, is shared by many liberals, conservatives, Democrats and Republicans. He said, “[It] will slow the growth of health care cost for our families, our businesses, and our government.”
Consequently, his proposal focuses on limiting our ability to spend increasing amounts to save lives and preserve health through increasingly better healthcare as we have been doing consistently for over 75 years.
The assumption that one can reduce what is spent to save lives and preserve health -- and do so solely by attacking waste and inefficiency without rationing is simply wrong.
[See http://www.nrlc.org/medethics/AmericaCanAfford.html, http://www.nrlc.org/MedEthics/SaveNotRation.html, and our webinar at http://nrlcomm.wordpress.com/2009/06/13/hcrwebinar/ ]
In simplest form, the facts are these:
1. As a nation we have been spending more each decade on healthcare BECAUSE WE CAN: production increases in our economy have continually freed up more resources that we can devote to this life-saving product.
2. Contrary to President Obama’s assertions, this extra money buys us better healthcare – reflected in higher survival rates for life-threatening illnesses in the United States.
3. The problem of the uninsured is one of distribution not incapacity --we as a society can afford better healthcare for those with low incomes who cannot cover the costs of healthcare in the way that most working class Americans can.
4. It is government, not the economy as a whole, that has trouble paying for healthcare because of a fundamental mistake in the way that existing and proposed subsidies for healthcare are funded.
5. The solution is to finance these subsidies based on what Americans are paying for healthcare rather than on general fund revenue that cannot keep up.
6. If on the contrary, as President Obama proposes, we seek to reduce the deficit by government imposed limitations on what Americans can spend to save their own lives and preserve their health, the result will be rationing, worse health, and unnecessary deaths.