Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wishful vs Lateral Thinking

My disdain for the mainstream info-tainment media is based on a very rational set of concerns.

One of them is that normal everyday people will never truly have the opportunity to consider or debate a relevant public issue, because they will never truly have all the information.

The healthcare debate in the US is a case in point. Following current pop culture trends, it seems that to oppose the Obama Administration's 1,000+ page healthcare reform package, means that you obviously oppose health care reform, want poor people to die, and are a scaremonger.

Oh, I almost forgot: And you're probably racist. Since November 2008, there seems to be a bit more of that going around.

In the real world, as opposed to that whacky alternate dimension to which the media are an effective portal, it doesn't mean any of that. For starters, and unlike the hordes of Democrats trying to sell it, it means you've actually read the healthcare package.

Is this plan to provide more care for more people, or to save money, or both? It can't be both. That's not possible. You can't simply say you're going to provide more people with more health care, and it's going to be cheaper.

While there is much back and forth between the parties on the details, none of which are particularly clear anyway, someone has thought outside the circle.

Someone has suggested that you cannot have health care reform without tort reform.
Medical Liability leads to more insurance. More insurance leads to more cost.

”The medical liability crisis has had many unintended consequences, most notably a decrease in access to care in a growing number of states and an increase in healthcare costs. .." says Dr. Stuart Weinstein, of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Quite simply, it is too easy to sue a doctor, particularly with pro-bono allowances which make for more ambulance-chasing lawyers. Then, practitioners will move to states where liability laws are less severe, but even then, will shy away from high-risk practices.

Apart from more costs and less services, less people then want to become doctors and surgeons. Logically, now they want to become attorneys. And as I've always said, attorneys are like Idol winners. We love them, really we do. We just don't need any more.

Care standards drop, and therefore the potential for malpractice increases. These costs are spun to the consumer as "high health care costs" when really, they are legal and insurance costs.

To cut a long and litigious story short, the current tort system is estimated to cost the US health system around $200 billion per year.

Talk about thinking outside the circle. Before you can genuinely reform health care, you must reform the tort system. Less pro-bono, more loser-pays. Less frivolous lawsuits. More caps on lawsuit payouts. More rule-of-law deciding genuine malpractice cases, less ankle-biters trying to profit off someone else, for their own lack of responsibility.

I don't doubt that many people have expressed this idea. But when Sarah Palin expresses it, it actually gets heard.

How does a housewife from Wasilla, Alaska, get the White House to remove a major section of the bill pertaining to end-of-life-care and rationing, merely by posting on Facebook? .

But of course, Palin is just parroting. She's just a pretty neo-con reading hate speech from someone else's script, right? Well, sure, if that rocks your prejudice boat. Except she was governor of a state which had caps on lawsuit awards against health care providers, pioneered the “loser pays” system to deter frivolous law suits, and inhibited "quack" court testimonies against real doctors. That's walking the walk.

Using facebook is a stroke of pure genius. It won't stop the delusional hatred of her by the Obamabots, but it will make sure her words arrive at the ears of her millions of listeners complete, pure, unfiltered and unaltered by a delusionally biased media.


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