Saturday, September 12, 2009

Change Is Not Always Good

On the left, you see a picture of me, circa 1977. Yes, believe it or not, I was not always the rotund fellow that most of you know today. On the right, there is a picture of three great looking guys! I know, I know, too much heat for one picture but steady, girls! I am the more ample hottie in the middle. Quite a change, huh?

I posted these two pictures as a great example of the point I wish to make today. For weeks and weeks, I have heard our president, and many members of the Democratic party, state that the health care system must be changed and therefore, we must accept their plans for a public option and other far reaching, sweeping changes. There basic choice for us is to keep health care as it is, or change it the way they want to change it. My point is that THESE ARE NOT OUR ONLY TWO CHOICES!

YES, we need health care reform in this country and YES, the plan offered by President Obama and the Democrats offers a real change from what we have now. But, is the change being offered automatically better simply because it is change. The two pictures above offer the obvious answer. In 32 years, I went from being a police officer weighing approximately 200 pounds to being my current calorically challenged (is that the right PC way to say FAT?) 500 pound self. That was certainly a definite change, but was that change for the good or not? Most people would agree that my change, although definite, was not a positive change.

Perhaps we can apply this lesson to Obamacare and realize that, just because it is change does not make it good. I would offer to our president the argument that approximately 80-85 % of Americans are satisfied with their health care. Instead of throwing everything out and starting over, why not try to adjust the system to help that 15-20 % of our CITIZENS who do not have satisfactory health care. That would certainly cost less than the overhaul which the Democrats would love to shove down our throat.

And hey, if you want to cut costs, why not start with the billions of dollars that are wasted in defensive medical tests to combat frivolous lawsuits, by enacting REAL TORT REFORM. When a lawyer takes a case on a contingency basis, he/she stands to collect 1/3 to 1/2 of whatever money he can screw out of the plaintiff. The defense attorney loses nothing, other than his/her time if he loses the case, while the plaintiff can go out of pocket for thousands and thousands of dollars before he/she "WINS!" One great change would be to require defense attorneys to pay the same percentage of their contingency back to the plaintiff when the plaintiff prevails. In that case, defense attorneys would be forced to be more realistic in what cases they bring to court, instead of filing one nuisance lawsuit after another, hoping that one in twenty cases will produce a paycheck.

Caps on punitive damages would also go a long way on reducing medical malpractice insurance rates and, therefore, reducing the overall cost of medical care. A lawsuit settlement should not be the equivalent of hitting the Pick 6 Lotto for Life. A realistic settlement for medical mistakes is one thing...Lotto for life is another!

Lastly, how about lifting the ban on healthcare insurance companies selling insurance across state lines. I know in some cases, because of insurance regulation, there may be as few as two or three companies offering coverage in a given state. This practically amounts to a monopoly in some states. Open up these markets and let capitalism and competition do their jobs and the prices for health care will come down.

Yes, we need some changes in our healthcare system. But, as our pictures above have taught us, the change needs to be a good change, or things can, and will, get worse!


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