Saturday, June 16, 2012

Let Them Eat Healthcare

It is not true that Marie Antoinette said "let them eat cake" when informed that the peasants had no bread. The point of that quote, however apocryphal, isn't to show her as callous though. The point is to show she had no comprehension of the plight of the poor. In the myth she was trying to be helpful by way of suggesting that since cake is like bread if someone is out of bread they can eat cake instead.

In the healthcare debate, with regards to the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, the debate often centers about people who do not have healthcare. In fact, many of those so described do have healthcare, they do not have health insurance. Those described as lacking care can easily get care, and in many cases do not have to pay.

An unfortunate aspect of the whole Healthcare Reform debate is that advocates of increased government intervention routinely confuse care and coverage. Even after this obfuscation is pointed out, advocates of increased government intervention continue to make the same error. There seems to be no way to shame an advocate of increased government intervention to accurately describe the debate as over healthcare coverage and not over healthcare itself.

And yet, that is the point. Healthcare does become less available the more the government intervenes. "But everyone is covered" does little good if there is nothing the coverage can buy. Many dentists refuse to accept Medi-Medi patients, and more doctors are refusing to do so as well. Massachusetts had to pass a law stating that all Ob-Gyns had to accept the state sponsored insurance. There is a crisis in West Virginia as more and more doctors flee the state due to malpractice lawsuit abuse.

Coverage is expanding, yet what that coverage can buy is shrinking. It leads to the question of what that coverage is supposed to purchase. Is someone in need of a bandage supposed to wrap insurance forms around the injury? Once there is plenty of healthcare coverage and yet no healthcare, perhaps it will be reported that some senior government official will be heard to say "let them eat healthcare."

1 comment:

John0 Juanderlust said...

Great point re the distinction between coverage and care.
Odd that people do not notice how the ease and level of care have changed over the years. I tried paying cash recently and thought they were going to through me out of the place. No place in the bureaucratic scheme for paying my own way.