I blog about free markets in medical care and transparent pricing.
When asked why he robbed banks, the famous bank robber Willie Sutton supposedly said,” ..that’s where the money is.” I suppose that a Keynesian economist would say that Sutton stimulated the local economy by spending much of this stolen money on booze, restaurants and machine guns.
Using the same logic, spokesmen and sycophants of corporate healthcare are declaring that Obamacare with its “exchanges” and Medicaid expansion are “pro-business.” Amy Dunn writes in the 12/15/12 edition of “The Oklahoman,” this: ”As a commercial real estate broker, I’m interested in the health of Oklahoma’s economy.”
What would expanding Medicaid do? Dunn says, “It would create high-paying jobs and prevent rural hospitals from closing. It would stimulate our economy…..”
Later in the article she reveals that she serves on the board of Variety Care, a Medicaid-dependent business. I guess she thinks that folks won’t connect these dots.
I actually have more respect for a guy like Willie Sutton who actually assumed some risk with his looting activities, than someone like Dunn, who has benefitted from the Medicaid loot, claiming all the while that it’s good “for business.” It’s good for her business. What is the difference between Sutton who stole depositor’s funds from a bank, and the “crony capitalist” who has an intermediary steal depositor’s funds for them?
I would argue that the depositors are less harmed by Sutton’s actions, as their accounts, if insured, retain the same balance! On the other hand, a stick-up by Uncle Sam (in the form of an expansion of Medicaid as advocated by Dunn) will have a noticeable effect on your bank account.
When you hear someone say that accepting the stolen property of Medicaid would stimulate the economy, remember that on a balance sheet this statement looks no different than Willie Sutton splurging at a mafia restaurant with stolen bags of bank notes.
Amy Dunn is just the latest to bash Governor Mary Fallin for refusing to drink Uncle Sam’s MediKool-Aide. Refusing the crack cocaine of federal money in the form of this Medicaid expansion was and is the right thing to do, a courageous decision those in corporate healthcare, thirsty for this loot, deplore. I think that those in the “business” community who are big fans of Obamacare and this Medicaid expansion should wear a scarlet “O” to distinguish them from those in the legitimate business community for whom this legislation represents ruin.
The government doesn’t have any money that it first didn’t acquire at gunpoint or borrow on our backs. To take more and more of this loot from a bankrupt federal government simply places our children and grandchildren in a more indebted position, destroys the purchasing power of money we do have and erodes what few liberties remain, as with government money comes government control.
Declaring the acceptance of Medicaid loot the spark of an economic stimulus is no different than promoting bank robbery for the economic benefit the robber’s spending spree will provide. Focusing only on what the loot is spent, discounts the damage done by the theft itself.
Those receiving this stolen property are no doubt benefitted. I think we should deliberately identify those in corporate healthcare promoting this theft as wishful recipients of stolen property and discard their false and twisted reasoning that somehow this theft benefits us all.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.
Recently, one of my sons facetiously suggested that we turn the air conditioner down to the lowest temperature and open the windows to cool it off outside. I made the comment that this would help with global warming. We all had a good laugh but then I started thinking. This is Keynesian economics. Just as my son’s suggestion discounted the heat contribution of the compressor and fan, Keynes’ economics discounts the damage done by the accumulation of debt and the depreciation of currency. This is also a clear demonstration of Bastiat’s “What is seen and what is not seen,” no?
But isn’t this also Obamacare? What is seen will be many more people with insurance cards/coverage. What will be discounted (not seen) will be the fine print on the card: “this gives you a right to hope for care,” or “this gives you a right to die in line.” The physicians fees associated with this plan will be low. Really low. So low that no one will see these patients. This is intentional. Medicare for everyone. This fee fixing below cost is the purpose of the IPAB (independent payment advisory board). Rationing will be the result and the doctors will be made out to be the bad guys, nevermind (discounting) the price offered for an office call or heart surgery will be well below the market-clearing price. How many cars would a car dealer sell if forced to sell them below his cost? How well-stocked would the grocery store be if the owner were forced to sell the items below cost?
Ask a Medicare beneficiary sometime how hard it was to find a doctor to see them after relocating. Most physicians don’t want to see Medicare and Medicaid patients because the payment is poor and hassles are intense(make a mistake on a claim form and you can go to prison for fraud). Obamacare just made it worse for the Medicare patients and others on government plans. Access to care is a problem for the uninsured but will be much more so for those on government plans like Medicare and Medicaid. Ask a physician who he’d rather see, a Medicare patient or someone paying them what they can out of their pocket. That uninsured individual who was paying for their care will now have that money taxed out of their pocket and will be in a line, rather than in the doctor’s office. The money taxed away from him will go to the cronies who wrote this bill, not for his care.
Will this new UCA (Unaffordable Care Act) health care guarantee care? No. Many will be denied access to care because they have this new “insurance” card in their billfold. If you are “covered” by an insurance that pays a physician less than he is willing to see you for, he is …..ready?….not going to see you. If you have nothing, he’ll probably see you out of charity. It is another thing altogether to put a gun to his head and tell him he is going to see UCA patients and be paid significantly below the market clearing price. Many insurance cards will be seen. The denial of access and rationing will tend to be discounted or not seen.
Are there people who fall through the cracks and have poor access now? Yes. This is the fault of the government and their prior interventions in to the business of health care (tax code discriminating against individual purchases of true insurance, for instance). The court’s ruling on the UCA represents the institutionalization of “falling through the cracks,” rather than the exception. I believe that this bill was meant to create sufficient chaos in the medical marketplace that many will beg the government to ride in on their white horse and rescue us from the crisis they have caused with their ultimate goal: a single payor system.
As Walter Williams has said, “if you want to boil a frog, put him in cool water first so he won’t know what’s going on and won’t jump out. Next thing he knows, it’s too late to get out.” We all need to work to identify all that is not easily seen and protect ourselves with a healthy amount of skepticism from those who, as representatives of “the government,” are “here to help us.”
G. Keith Smith, M.D.