"It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see ...the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people........ if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?""
Douglas Adams, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, 1986
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Physician Senators Talk About Healthcare "Reform"
There are two US Senators, both Republicans, who are also physicians, Senator John Barrasso MD and Senator Tom Coburn MD. They have been appearing in a series of videos, available on YouTube, talking about the Democrats healthcare reform plans. It's good to listen to senators who, for a change, actually have a clue what they are talking about.
One point they touch on that I'd like to emphasize is that when the government lowers Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors and then claims "cost savings", nothing of the kind is occurring. What is occurring is cost shifting. Costs don't go away just because the magic government unicorns wave them out of existence, they just get shifted to someone else. Either other patients pay them in higher prices for their own healthcare or the doctor's practice absorbs them. Either way, it amounts to a tax on private healthcare. The "negotiating power" of govenrment is a fiction. The government dictates and you take or leave. If the Democrats succeed in their plans for a total government takeover of the healthcare system, there will be nobody to shift the costs to and therefore the availability of healthcare will decrease. See Canada and Great Britain.
Here is the video. It's about 22 minutes, but worth your time to watch.