Zeke’s eye and some thoughts on ObamaCare...Zeke, my six year old Beagle/Retard mix (see profile pic), punctured his right eye last Monday chasing a bunny through some thorny brush, which prompted a trip to the closest animal hospital with a 24-hour emergency room. As I sat in the waiting room with the furry moron, it occurred to me that I was smack dab in the middle of a pure market-driven, fee-for-service medical operation, albeit for veterinary care. It was a bonafide working model of a system that is far more efficient and desirable than anything His Holiness The ObaMessiah was pitching on his ABC infomercial in typical snake oil salesman fashion.
Granted, I wasn’t overjoyed about shelling out $166 for an emergency exam and some eye salve, but Zeke did receive prompt and professional care from a skilled and courteous vet staff. Had I purchased pet health insurance for him previously, it might have been preferable to my own coverage. Unlike me, Zeke is unemployable; he does not have opposable thumbs, a brain larger than a kiwi, or the ability to speak. Consequently, his range of insurance options is defined by the marketplace, not by his employer, and is mostly free of onerous regulations. His insurance would not be subject to artificial inflationary pressures from state-bound coverage mandates or bureaucratic meddling with reimbursement and rationing. Lucky, care-free little bastard. I haven’t decided if I’m actually going to buy him some insurance in case his next bunny hunt goes horribly awry. If he gets hit by a cement truck in the process, I can always have him euthanized.
My trip to the animal ER also reminded me of a story about a former boss of mine (a committed liberal of the 60’s hippie variety) who once paid $10,000 for a series of surgeries to save a stray cat that died a few months afterward. He was also a huge proponent of single-payer universal health care. I don’t think the rationale behind these threads are unrelated, as they offer a glimpse into the pervasive empathetic reasoning that has obscured rational assessments of socialized medicine’s true cost. The mainstream news media and Hollywood have worked diligently the past two decades to push hard for the universal care agenda by playing the empathy card to a society that seems increasingly swayed by feelings and imagery over substance and reasoned argument. By exploiting exaggerated medical horror stories in a two-pronged approach, they have consistently demonized HMOs, the insurance industry and greedy doctors, and lauded the supposed greatness of socialized medicine in other counties while conveniently ignoring the substantial drawbacks. The true source of America's healthcare problem, government, is never labeled as such; rather, government is invariably celebrated as a benevolent provider to the ever-ailing masses.
Ultimately, the inflation and inefficiencies that plague the US medical system stem from market distortions caused by Ponzi-esque government programs and burdensome regulations that pervert the price mechanisms necessary for a viable and free health care marketplace. In spite of this rather obvious fact, here we are, 15 years after the death of HillaryCare, on the cusp of adopting myriad radical changes at the federal level which would distance us even further from a free market solution, with guaranteed disastrous fiscal and medical consequences. I can't say I'm entirely surprised. This is, after all, just the sort of “change” His Holiness promised to deliver. Sadly, we've drifted far from the days when less bombastic presidents could speak openly about affirming the limits of federal power without being considered a cruel heretic. It was Silent Cal who once said, “Government should not assume for the people the inevitable burdens of existence.” Now that's the sort of “change” I can believe in. Yes, I can!