Health Care



     In February 2012, the Commonwealth of Virginia killed a baby by preventing the hospital from operating a specialty nursery that might have saved the kid’s life. The bureaucrats didn’t want hospitals to compete with each other.

     In any free country, competition would be a key element to the success of free markets. Derry Imaging stays in business by advertising its lower costs for x-ray, ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (M.R.I.) services.

     State regulations limiting the supply of health care, immigration restrictions preventing doctors and nurses from moving to the United States of America, and a host of other restrictions drive up health care costs.

     If your condition requires a pill costing $10 a day, and a pharmaceutical company invents a pill slightly better and costing $100 a day, doctors are forbidden to prescribe the more affordable medicine. It is considered medical malpractice. This means they are forced to prescribe the pill you cannot afford. Maybe you can manage to afford it, but then you must skip the rent and end up living on the street.

     All of these restrictions have one thing in common. They are all backed up by gun-toting goons in bulletproof vests. Seldom do they actually move into battle. As any chess player knows, A threat is more effective than the actual implementation.

     Nothing in the United States Constitution allows Congress to regulate most doctors and hospitals. Of course, the power to raise armies and to provide and maintain a navy requires hospitals to take care of the soldiers and sailors; and the Enclave Clause allows Congress to regulate such things in the District of Columbia and on military bases.

     Compare smoking to gambling. If you smoke two packs a day, that might add up to about $100 a week, but if you gamble, there is practically no limit to how much you can squander. There is also no limit with health care. There will always be people dying who could have been saved for a few million dollars more. You are free to donate your money to save them, but you have no right to steal other people’s money.

     We all have ideas for fixing health care. I would put the medical school dormitory at the hospital and let the students use their acquired skills to earn a living and to pay tuition. A student qualified as an emergency medical technician (E.M.T.) or nurse’s aide would perform that work to pay room, board and tuition while acquiring more skills, all the way up to doctor of mediciane (M.D.) I would say, if you smoked pack after pack of cigarettes and now you have lung cancer, or if you drank so much alcohol that you got cirrhosis of the liver, you should be last in line for a transplant. Let the limited number of transplant organs go to people without delibeately self-inflicted problems. However, it is not for Members of Congress to decide these things, except in very limited circumstances.

     

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