Monday, October 19, 2009


That’s a legitimate question and one that surely requires an answer.

When I was born, many moons ago, I believe the average life expectancy of an American citizen was in the upper 60’s. Today the average life span is about 78 for men and approximately 80 for women. That’s quite a jump, don’t you think?

Well, let’s take the year 1960 (50 years ago). Doctors at that time still made house calls for approx. $15.00 per house visit ($10 a visit at the doctor’s office). Many of the cures that my mother used for some of the illnesses was homeopathic (without knowing what that word meant) and natural treatments that were handed down from generation to generation. For an example, if you caught a cold and were congested in the chest or nose, the treatment was hot tea and honey, chicken soup, and Vick’s Vap-o-Rub on the chest, throat, and back, and if the congestion was really bad, a steam atomizer with some tincture of camphor added, usually did the trick. I also remember that the only painkillers that were widely used were, ether and Novocain, depending on the medical problem. These are just a few of the treatments that were available to us at that time.

Now, look at what’s available to treat us today, just 50 years down the road from 1960. Because of some entrepreneurial people and companies, looking to make a profit from their efforts, we have a wide array of medical products and treatments that just boggle the mind. These “new-fangled” products and treatments don’t come cheaply, but they have mostly been the reason why our life expectancy has gone up so dramatically over these past 50 years, as well as the costs.

Let’s see what is available today that wasn’t available in 1960, and why that has caused our medical costs to soar.

*knee and hip replacements
*arthroscopic surgery
*CT Scans
*Bypass heart artery surgery
*Laser treatments for eyes, skin, and kidney and bladder problems
*organ transplants
*prosthetic limbs
*stents for arteries
*many miracle drugs, researched and produced by the “evil” pharmaceutical Co.’s
*Plus many more too numerous to mention.

All these innovations and life-saving treatments have come about through our free-enterprise profit making system. If we take the financial incentive out of our medical care system by price-fixing, over regulation, and government intrusion, many of our expected future medical breakthroughs will not come about because it would not be worth the time and effort of some person or company, if they are not fairly compensated for the time, effort, and treasure they would have to expend in developing new products, treatments, and drugs. That’s why people from all over the world come here for treatment, especially heads-of-state, even if it is expensive, because it is the best in the world.

And now, we want to scrap our state-of-the-art medical treatment and care system in order to help about 5% of the population that cannot afford this array of life-saving treatments and in some cases, cures? Why throw the baby out with the bath water, when you could solve this problem by having “safety nets” for poor people or for catastrophic illnesses, instituting tort and malpractice reform, letting people buy their health insurance across state lines, institute vigorous fraud and corruption units, especially in the areas of Medicare and Medicaid? Let the private system work (with some government enforcement oversight) and you’ll see our system adjust to the competition by lowering medical costs for everyone. It’s when the government intrudes in the system that things go haywire and costs start to rise, because all government can do is “screw up a free lunch”, which they seem to do quite well..

I hope I’ve given you some food for thought as to why health care is so expensive, and hopefully, I’ve given you some valid ways of how to go about solving the problem.

Written by Chuck Lehmann

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Mr Blanc said...

The cost of medical insurance is simply too high because doctors are having to protect themselves from lawsuits. Obama will not go after Lawyers because those are his Sugar Daddies

Sammy B. said...

tort reform is a key element of any effort to hold down the costs of health care.
Old John Edwards won $175 million in judgments over a 12-year period suing doctors, hospitals & insurance companies, everyone but the candy stripers, over infant cerebral palsy cases allegedly caused by mishandled deliveries.

Ron Butcher said...

A dirty little secret that hasn't been mentioned by the main street media is that most all the government-run health care plans in Europe and Canada are instituting private options (not gov't. run) to try to save their plans from bankruptcy while we, in the the most advanced country in the world, are going in the opposite direction. Why are the liberals so stupid when it comes to economic and financial matters? Could it be that the Democratic Party is controlled by lawyers?