Tuesday, November 05, 2013

For some, the mind is set against Obamacare

There is an interesting mindset among opponents of Obamacare. It sounds like this to me: "Repeal it and lets start all over," while at the same time harboring no intention of instituting reform. Remember, Republicans are starting from a position of, "what's mine is mine, what's yours is negotiable." This is another way of saying, "Hey, you know what? We really, really like the state of affairs before Obamacare and we're just not that into reform." If you don't like it, and you know you can't repeal it, find a way to improve it instead of hobbling it. 

Some observers have noted that the Republicans got the health plan they've been asking for since Nixon. It's not a single payer plan, private insurers will make plenty of money and it won't cover everyone. But it will cover far more than we were covering before. Opponents have decried the tax imposed by Obamacare, for shame that we should force young people to buy insurance or pay a tax instead. The tax that we've been paying is for uninsured people who land in emergency rooms all over the country. Republicans have said nothing about that tax.

Opponents of Obamacare sound like they're free-agents in a bag of skin who have failed to notice how hard the Conservative Nanny State works for them. Here's an example. Can you name a single "free trade" agreement that has made it easier for doctors in other countries to come here and work for less money than doctors here already do? You can't, can you? This is the AMA's lobby at work. The AMA works hard to maintain a doctor shortage. Meanwhile, doctors are happy to thrust people who used to be middle class into competition with the world, you know, places like China and Thailand.

It is also a fact that if we paid the same amount in GDP for health care as other industrialized countries, about half what we pay now, we would be seeing budget surpluses at the federal and state levels for years to come. Those other industrialized countries includes many European countries that have universal health care. But doctors living here have become accustomed to the high pay and anointed status they think they have earned. 

It's time to globalize health care and at least one economist, going by the name of Dean Baker, has a plan that is worthy of consideration. With 7 billion people in the world, I think we can find enough doctors worldwide to do the work that doctors here do, but for less money and with greater enthusiasm.
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