Shared sacrifice: Izvestia gets it on health care, three years after the ObamaCare debacle
I actually treated myself to a Sunday Times last weekend -- an expensive fire lighter, but leave that aside -- and noticed this article in the Business Section by Eduardo Porter:
Health Care and Profits, a Poor Mix
A shareholder might even applaud the creativity with which profit-seeking institutions go about seeking profit. But the consequences of this pursuit might not be so great for other stakeholders in the system — patients, for instance. One study found that patients’ mortality rates spiked when nonprofit hospitals switched to become profit-making, and their staff levels declined.
Well, that's pretty clear, isn't it? Health care for profit kills people ("Murder by spreadsheet"); hence the people who support health care for profit regard those deaths as acceptable "externalities" for their policy of choice (including, I might add, the ObamaSphere). Hipparchia dug up and posted on the closest thing we'll find to a real-world controlled study proving the same lethal thesis, during Katrina, back in 2009. There's plenty of fine material in Porter's post, but here's the bottom line:
A quarter of a century ago, a belief swept across America [note lack of agency] that we could reduce the ballooning costs of the government’s health care entitlements just by handing over their management to the private sector. Private companies would have a strong incentive to identify and wipe out wasteful treatment. They could encourage healthy lifestyles among beneficiaries, lowering use of costly care. Competition for government contracts would keep the overall price down.
We now know this didn’t work as advertised. Competition wasn’t as robust as hoped [by the gullible]. Health maintenance organizations didn’t keep costs in check, and they spent heavily on administration [executive salaries and bonuses] and screening [cherry picking] to enroll only the healthiest, most profitable [shocker!] ]beneficiaries. ...
Today, again, entitlements are at the center of the national debate. Our elected officials are consumed by slashing a budget deficit that is expected to balloon over coming decades. With both Democrats and Republicans unwilling to raise taxes on the middle class, the discussion is quickly boiling down to how deeply entitlements must be cut.
We may want to broaden the debate. The relevant question is how best we can serve our social needs at the lowest possible cost. One answer is that we have a lot of room to do better. Improving the delivery of social services like health care and pensions may be possible without increasing the burden on American families, simply by removing the profit motive from the equation.
If you "read between the lines" of Porter's column -- by which I mean removing the "soft snow" that covers the sharp outline and the detail of excess mortality over the quarter century process that Porter describes -- you will see that thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of human persons* have been sacrificed -- openly slaughtered, right in plain sight, by CEOs, CFOs, ideologues, our famously free press, and the legacy parties, all performing their priestly functions -- on the altar of a so-called "health care" system that does not and cannot deliver health, because it has been very successfully designed to deliver profit, by those who profit from it.
I keep saying: The sacrifice has already been "shared." And we have already sacrificed quite enough, thank you very much.
NOTE * Assuming, arguendo, that the elite are wrong, and we are human, and not, say, "human resources" or "human capital."