Op/Ed: Disrupt This: Jettison Medicare and Medicaid

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

"Disruptive innovation" is all the buzz. Repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is so last year. Well, disrupt this: repeal Medicare and Medicaid and get the government out of the medical care business.

The federal government appropriately began its involvement in health care in 1798 when Congress established the U.S. Marine Hospital Service. It should have ended with taking care of our soldiers and sailors.

This is America, and the private sector knew what to do. The mid-1800s brought "sickness funds," financed by small wage deductions. In the late 1800s, mining, lumber, and railroad companies created industrial clinic plans that prepaid physicians a fixed monthly fee to provide medical care to employees. Workers were so satisfied with these that they rejected the idea of state-sponsored compulsory insurance.


Op/Ed: A Health Savings Account Could Save Your Life


To guarantee payment in the midst of the Depression, pre-paid group plans were established. Hospital and surgical insurance featuring physician choice and fee-for-service payment was introduced in the 1930s. Government policies in the 1940s influenced the growth of employer-sponsored health insurance. Favorable tax treatment and World War II's wage and price controls led employers to offer health insurance in lieu of higher wages.

The poor were not forgotten. Charity hospitals developed from almshouses that cared for the poor. Public hospitals grew from community efforts to care for those who could not afford to care for themselves.

By 1964 some 80 percent of Americans were privately insured with 821 companies offering individual plans. Health insurance was an affordable safety net because most people are healthy most of the time and people took care of their simple medical needs out of pocket. The challenge was insuring the poor-risk top 5 percent of health consumers who spend half of the medical dollars. The government could have — but did not — use the opportunity to encourage the private sector to innovate practical, cost-effective insurance products and launch public education campaigns to invigorate community public hospitals.

Unfortunately, the Sixties brought us far more than flower power. After an uphill battle fighting images of wizened widows without medical care, the Kerr-Mills Act of 1960 giving federal funding to the states to help low-income seniors with their medical bills was passed. This opened the door to a bureaucratic monster that took on a life of its own.

The Great Society's social engineers would not be satisfied until the government burrowed deeper into medical care. Thus Medicaid for all the "medically indigent" and Medicare for all seniors (aka middle class welfare) were born.

And since money grows on third-party and government trees, medical costs were ignored, and expenditures dramatically increased from 5.0 percent of GDP in 1960 to 17.9 percent in 2016. And at 28 percent, healthcare expenditures are the single largest piece of the federal budget pie.


Op/Ed: Patients and Physicians Unite: You Have Nothing to Lose but Your Chains


The ACA's justification for commandeering the remainder of the health insurance market was to rid our nation of the uninsured. Yet six years later, the nation's uninsured dropped a mere 3.8 percent, and premiums have more thandoubled. The number one reason the current uninsured did not buy insurance was because the cost was too high. Of course it was. The ACA's mandated "free" benefits had to be paid for somehow. Worse yet, it now takes a Herculean effort to find individual health insurance; nationally, there are only 3.5 issuers in the ACA marketplace.

Medicare and Medicaid began the upending of the health insurance business. These programs became the siren call, enticing us to cede control over our health to disinterested third parties and middlemen. Government largesse led us to accept blind pricing as the norm. Where else do you buy something before you know what it costs? Freebies lured us into relinquishing our privacy to government data banks and now leave us longing for the comfort and simplicity of a computer-free doctor visit.

Medicare and Medicaid started us down the road to dependency and government control. The nightmare has become a reality: when government controls your medical care it controls your life and death through treatment denials and Medicare's ever-expanding direct-to-hospice pathway.

In the 50s drama, The High and the Mighty airplane passengers were forced to throw all their baggage into the Pacific Ocean to save themselves from certain doom. Likewise it's time to shed our government healthcare baggage and move forward.

Dr. Singleton is a board-certified anesthesiologist. She is also a Board-of-Directors member and President-elect of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). She graduated from Stanford and earned her MD at UCSF Medical School.  Dr. Singleton completed 2 years of Surgery residency at UCSF, then her Anesthesia residency at Harvard's Beth Israel Hospital. While still working in the operating room, she attended UC Berkeley Law School, focusing on constitutional law and 

Haute Tease

  • Beltway Insider: Obama/Afghanistan Policy; Iran Sanctions; Lockerbie; Gun Case; Dem Debate; WH Live

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    In 1988, Pam Am Flight 103 originating from Frankfurt, Germany, in route to the United States was destroyed by a terrorist bomb and this week, Abu Agila Mas'ud and Abdullah Senussi, have been named as the main suspects, 27 years later.

     
  • 8 Surprising Medical Facts About Healthy Eating On-the-Go

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Before you hit the road on that holiday vacation or business trip with a mindset of maintaining a healthy diet regimen, beware! What you "think" you know about healthy food choices can hurt you. Eating healthfully can be extra-challenging when you are out and about, whether traveling remotely, in transit from point A to point B, or dining out locally.

     
  • NYBFW ’18 MUSE by Berta Review – Bold Elegance, Intricate Detailing, Sensual Silhouettes

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    MUSE by Berta has fast become the most popular and praised new bridal line worldwide. The contradicting mix of elegance and boldness makes this collection stand out as a highlight of this year’s New York Bridal Fashion Week presentations.

     
  • Royal Blues Hotel and Chanson’s Restaurant Review – Exclusive, Elegant, Exquisite and Oceanside

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The boutique Royal Blues Hotel, just south of Palm Beach, along Florida's eastern coast, on scenic Deerfield Beach, a city well known for its pristine and clean coastline and the array of recreational water activities delighting both residents and tourists.

     
  • Zuzu Still Thinks IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A Conversation with Karolyn Grimes

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Nothing completes the holiday experience more than an extra serving—to go with the booze and candied yams—of Frank Capra’s yule-tide yarn, of IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. It’s a picture that can melt even the iciest of hearts and for those of us grown-ups with no self-worth (or money) in December, there’s just something downright conciliatory about it.

     
  • Election 2020: New National Poll Shows Biden, Sanders, O’Rourke and Castro Hold Highest Favorability Among Latino Voters

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Less than 10 months before the 2020 primaries and caucuses begin, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund and Latino Decisions today released the results of a new national poll of Latino registered voters.

     
  • The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU Miami Beach Presents the U.S. Premiere Of Stranded In Shanghai

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU presents the U.S. premiere of Stranded in Shanghai: Arthur Rothstein's Photographs of the Hongkew Ghetto, 1946, the timely exhibition featuring a lesson from history about tolerance, compassion for human suffering and solidarity.

     
  • The Tonight Show Transition: Ageism versus Popularity

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Well, its official, after no less than the second major late night shake-up in almost as many years, Jimmy Fallon will in fact be taking over NBC’s The Tonight Show from Jay Leno as of 2014. Of course, to call its departing host of more than twenty years anything less than polarizing would be inaccurate, but still, this just feels a bit wrong.

     
  • Mom Charged in Newborn’s Homicide

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Amanda Catherine Hein, 26, recently gave birth to a healthy baby boy in the bathroom of a local Bethlehem, Pennsylvania sports bar and promptly smothered him to death and stuffed his remains in the toilet tank.

     
  • Celebrity Real Estate: Fashion Designer Pierre Cardin Lists South of France Retreat; Asking Tops All European Markets

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Pierre Cardin, the French fashion designer, known for his unusual designs, geometric shapes and a departure from feminine couture, was considered avant-garde inventing a bubble dress which he introduced in 1954, a decade before the modern cultural revolution.

     
  • Civico 1845 San Diego Review - Authentic Italian Home Cooking Deliciously Modernized

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Civico 1845, on India Street in the heart of San Diego's Little Italy, a new addition to the neighborhood that is making a grand entrance bringing to the table a passionately authentic and hand-crafted approach to Southern Italian cuisine.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Russia, Ukraine Poised for War; Obamacare Rollout Claims HHS; March Job Numbers; Equal Pay Day

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has maintained his aggressive violations of the Ukraine's territorial sovereignty as he prepares to annex three additional regions along the eastern border in an action that promises severe global economic and diplomatic repercussions.

     
  • Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort – Family Friendly Sonoran Desert Destination

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak, a Spanish-Mediterranean-inspired resort, has held a firm reputation in Arizona for decades. Minutes from Scottsdale and Phoenix, the family friendly hotel, recently celebrated its 40th anniversary unveiling an $8.5 million renovation.

     
  • Gift Guide: Great Gifts and Gets for Foodies

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    If you’re looking for gift ideas for a food and drink-centric friend, co-worker or loved one, you’re in luck as I’ve cooked up a tasty assortment of items that’ll make your holiday shopping a snap. This season offers a veritable cornucopia of clever, inventive and downright delectable products like these sure to satisfy the gift giver and receiver, alike.  

  • Borg vs McEnroe Review - Serves Up Solid Entertainment

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Borg vs McEnroe, from SF Productions and Neon, presents a story played out on Wimbledon’s Center Court, 1980, and the back story of the hard won victory’s that brought each of the men to this pivotal and historical moment.