I often have to admit to being perplexed, often over a whole range of issues. For example, during a speech by Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum after the Illinois primary election, just a few days ago, he stated that his campaign was about freedom. He asked the question “Are we going to have a government which orders us around and rules out lives?” The crowd responded with a chorus of “No’s”! Now, on the face of it I can agree with the sentiment, but Mr. Santorum and many of his Republican brethren are doing just the opposite. Mr. Santorum is against gay marriage, he is against contraceptives, and he is against abortion. And he thinks it is okay for the state to impinge upon your freedoms in these cases. All across the country Republican state legislators are proposing and passing anti-abortion bills, most prominently they are emphasizing requiring “trans-vaginal ultrasound scans ” before abortions can be performed. Government body cavity searches on women, lots of women. They want this to be the law.
This is the same Republican Party that vilified The Affordable Health Care Act because it intruded government into the near sacred doctor-patient relationship. Now Republican legislators are telling doctors and patients that certain procedures, for which there are no medical reasons, will be performed or the patients and doctors will feel the force of the law come down on them. And the victim must pay for the “service.” This is freedom? WTF?
And while a nonsensical anti-“freedom” condemnation of The Affordable Health Care Act is sucking all of the air out of the room, there is no discussion of what is wrong with the bill. For example, hospitals are required, by law, to provide care for the indigent and the only figure I could find that was somewhat nationwide is a little old: “According to Healthcare Financial Management Association’s Receivable Analysis Service, hospitals provided $11.5 billion in uncompensated services last year (that was 1988)—more than 9 percent of their revenue.” Now, there are far more uninsured now that then so this might be up to 12%, 15%, or more, I don’t know, let’s just say it is 10%. (It is really hard to determine because hospitals shift costs by charging insured patients more than uninsured, called cost shifting. And, yes, there are wide ranges in the numbers of indigents getting served at various hospitals, but this doesn’t affect my point.)
When The Affordable Health Care Act kicks in and the number of uninsured goes down dramatically, should that 10% surcharge on insured patients still be necessary? Should not all “full pop” hospital charges go down 10% (or whatever) and health insurance costs also go down 10% when ObamaCare kicks in 2014? I haven’t heard anything about this.
Or is this just another windfall for big business in this country?