Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Letter to Auntie

My bride, from Cooperstown, New York, is blessed with a picnic table full of relatives in that end of the world. They are, without exception, gracious, decent people who express concerns for others and are good neighbors. Otherwise they are political liberals by rote and not particularly involved in the current scene.

One, in an email the other day, asked her what she thought of the impending health care legislation from her perspective (40+ years) as a nurse. Although tempting, I do not answer my wife’s mail.. I did offer some suggestions for the response. She gratefully accepted some and responded in her own way and in her extremely capable writing style. The fact that the individual asked marked a turning point and required a thoughtful response. If a family member of yours were to ask, some of my suggestions follow:

Let me make it clear that I am not opposed to an overhaul of some aspects of the medical system that is currently available. So, to answer your question, this is what I would do and what I am asking my representatives in the funny farm we call congress to do.

Regardless of what you may hear reported, the medical system we have now is the most dedicated, available, and best in the world. The alleged 47 million uninsured numbers disappear rapidly when you deduct the willingly uninsured, the illegal aliens, and those wealthy enough to self-insure.

What is really needed is a repair of the wasteful, corruption filled, inefficient Medicare. /Medicaid. This could easily be accomplished with an enforcement of existing law and if need be, a Special Counsel for additional investigation and prosecution.

We need individual legislation to rein in the rewards for trial lawyers who currently see every medical procedure as a meal ticket. Across the board federal limits to liability for medical practitioners at every skill level would immediately lower costs by reducing their personal liability insurance. Currently your physician has to practice defensive medicine in the extreme, to avoid the constant threat of suits. This results in tests beyond need and caution beyond reason.

We need individual legislation to insure that all health plans are able to cross state lines and then let the market work. This would provide free-market alternatives for the insured and allow insurers to pool risk with states with lower records of medical incidence.

As a Christian I could never lend my support to any legislation which mandates that my tax dollars support the practice of abortion. It’s bad enough that it’s legal but I shouldn’t have to pay for the murders as well. Individual legislation could easily exclude it from covered medical expenses and therefore not give federal imprimatur to the vile practice of killing the unborn.

In general, I am highly suspect of any governmental intrusion into the every day lives of citizens. That would cover medical, environmental, commerce, manufacturing, banking, housing and any area not specifically assigned by the constitution. As examples of government efficiency one need look no further than the Post Office, Amtrak, Social Security, Veteran’s Administration, Cash for Clunkers, the Department of Energy, the FAA and an IRS which can’t see violators of tax law in plain sight—as congressmen (Charlie Rangel), senators (Chris Dodd) and department heads (here see Treasury Secretary, Tim Geitner.)

Other than religious persuasion, I can think of no other aspect of daily life which is more personal or more individual than health care. My wife, as a practitioner for 47 years, off and on, fully understands the need of subjective care and decision making for patients in response to their individual needs. “One size fits all” is not appropriate for good health.

Every one of these proposals and complaints are covered in offered bills in both houses of congress by now toxic Republicans. In a partisan body, these never get to committee, much less out of it to the floor. It is the nature of the beast.

I do really appreciate the compliment of having you ask for an opinion on the subject. I will repeat that there is much to improve to make our health care system even greater than it is today. It’s just that the government, regardless of the administration, has the answer. In the military they do a bang-up job—in the society they are just too cumbersome to be effective.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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