In the movie Indecent Proposal (1993) a very wealthy man is mesmerized by the beauty of a married woman whom he observes dancing with her husband. He decides the woman, even though she is married, must be his– if only for one night. He offers the woman and her husband a million dollars if they both agree to let him spend one night with her. After long consideration, the couple agrees. However, just as the wealthy man goes to capture his prize, her beauty disappears. It is at this moment that the rich man realizes the beauty that he saw in her face while she was dancing with her husband was not her physical beauty but the beauty of her love for her husband –a beauty the rich man would never have.
This reminds me of the desire by some to remake our health care system. Why do the uninsured want healthcare? Is it not because our doctors and hospitals are able to provide wonderful life improving, life saving treatments provided in a timely manner? Of course it is.
Why are the uninsured not happy without insurance? Because it means they must go to the free county hospitals. County hospitals mean long lines, the hassle of having to go the emergency room for minor care, the uncertainty of whether they will be provided the right care at the right time, the uncertainty about whether they will receive the most advanced treatments available, and the probability that the county medical board will decide that their treatment is not “medically necessary“ or that the county’s resources might be better used on a younger patient. In short, uninsured people do not like getting the exact level of care that government directed programs provide throughout the world.
The uninsured are correct–that system stinks. If the government regulates health care, we will all have to suffer under the same pathetic care they are trying to escape. The very thing that makes the U.S. health care system so expensive is also what makes it great. In the U.S., doctors and hospitals have much greater ability to decide what technologies, equipment, and resources they will use to provide us with health care. They will provide us this care as long as we are willing to pay the insurance premiums needed to provide those wonderful treatments. If the government regulates what insurance premiums can be charged or directs the types and methods of “acceptable” health plans, then the complete government take over of health care is not far away.
And so, President Obama, I reject your indecent proposal. The uninsured cannot obtain what they truly seek–high quality health care through the creation of a government system— the same government system that drives them to desire private health insurance in the first place. If government involves itself in all health decisions, then in not too many years, all of us will “enjoy” the same level of government health care that the uninsured of today are trying to escape.
There is a better way, America. There are numerous proposals that would preserve our high quality, private care system but would also dramatically lower the costs (google it for yourself). These proposals would allow more people to enjoy the benefits of our truly great medical system.