Since the recent Supreme Court decision on Obamacare, Dispatch letters have warned of doomsday outcomes. These are old saws.
In 1964 I completed several years of post medical school training aimed at going into general practice in rural Minnesota. But Medicare legislation was about to pass with ominous warnings, including non-specialty physicians working only in government offices.
I switched to internal medicine and cardiology. False fear-mongering changed my career plans.
In 1969, my mother-in-law died of colon cancer at age 58 after being told by her insurance company that she “would no longer be covered for any tumorous condition.” This would not happen in Canada or under Obamacare. In contrast, my own mother had her life extended seven years by renal dialysis, completely covered by Medicare.
Most of the early physician-opposition to Medicare vanished because it vastly improved the economics of health care for seniors. The Reagan administration passed a bill requiring providers to care for persons without insurance, creating the “free-rider” label for citizens who receive care without paying for it. In 1993, the Clinton single-payer plan was killed with arguments proposing a mandate program. Romney later passed a mandate program in Massachusetts, achieving 98 percent state coverage.
The main health care question is not about bad taxes or socialism. It is whether our government’s constitutional responsibility to “provide for the general welfare” includes health care for all citizens. Or, should we remain ranked low in the industrialized world on this moral- quality/economic quotient? And, what system is the most efficient?
In the past 35 years the market-forces-only theory for health has nowhere competitively approached this universality goal.
The Tea Party seems opposed to universal care. The court left the door open for a better system of freedom through this common good.
Obamacare is a first step.
Charles R.(“Dick”) Peterson, M.D. (retired)
I find it ironic and more than a bit hypocritical when those who have worked their entire adult life for the federal (big) government, and are now reaping the benefits of a federal pension and health care, now make a call to support policies that limit big government.
Are they willing to give up those retirement benefits as part of the solution to federal spending? If not, now that they have theirs, they shouldn’t cast stones in glass houses.