Framing the Dialogue

Logan’s Run Healthcare?

“The seeds of the Little War were planted in a restless summer during the mid-1960s, with sit-ins and student demonstrations as youth tested its strength. By the early 1970s over 75 percent of the people living on Earth were under 21 years of age.

The population continued to climb — and with it the youth percentage.

In the 1980s the figure was 79.7 percent.

In the 1990s, 82.4 percent. In the year 2000 — critical mass.”

                           William F. Nolan & George Clayton Johnson (Introduction to the novel Logan’s Run)

I have to admit that I never read the book, but vividly remember seeing the movie when it was released.  I would have been 15 and Farrah Fawcett was in the movie, though not in a major role.  Essentially the movie was about a society where citizens did not venture outside their boundaries and resources were limited.  In order to manage consumption citizens are fitted with a crystal in their palm that changes color when they reach a certain age.

When the color of your crystal changes, you must seek renewal.  As I remember, there was a big ceremony where the older folks float upward toward possible renewal.  The bad news is that there is no renewal and all of the older folks are killed thus keeping the population limited and preserving scarce resources.  The problem in Logan’s society is that “old” is only 21.  Logan is a “Sandman” who has the duty to hunt down and kill folks who just are not quite ready to renew. 

I remembered this movie as I was listening to some of the comments regarding planned “Healthcare Reform.”  The parallels to this movie are astounding.  How many times have you heard that our healthcare system is broken?  Our resources are stretched and millions do not have healthcare.

Framing the Dialogue Check:  Politicians and Pundits use the term healthcare and health insurance interchangeably.  They are not the same.  By law, hospitals cannot refuse care to ANYONE.  If you do not have health insurance and you are very sick you can go to an Emergency Room for HEALTHCARE.  Everyone does not have health insurance, but everyone has healthcare available in America. 

Getting back to Logan’s Run and our heath care system.  In Logan’s society, they decided that the proper way to managed resources was to kill everyone over a certain age.  I am not suggesting that our elected officials are planning such a program, but as you read this quote from our President, it may send a chill down your spine;

“Additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care. Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.”

That quote does not necessarily sound too unreasonable until you combine it with the plan to have a government body determine what is “necessary.”  I am NOT comfortable with a government body setting policy on what type of medical care that I get.  Those kinds of interactions and decisions should be made between a person and his doctor.  Government does not belong there.

A compelling case is also being made to make all of our health records available in electronic format.  That sounds great.  If you are on vacation 1,000 miles from home and have an emergency, all of your records would be available.  Call me a skeptic, but I do not believe that our medical records would be secure.  If the Defense Department cannot prevent hackers from accessing classified data, what are the chances that your health records will be safe?

The hospital industry and other companies are salivating at the prospect of Big Healthcare. 

“With substantial funding for adoption and expansion of health IT at the provider, facility, regional, and national levels, we can make real progress.  It will be important in the execution to include sufficient flexibility in the decisions and deployments undertaken such that today’s various data and information formats can all be managed, as well as the forthcoming standards to be developed.”

                           Carl Buising, MD, executive director of healthcare, U.S. Public Sector Health at Microsoft

A few terms jump right out at me;

Substantial funding” – translation – a whole lot of tax dollars that will have to be first taken from you and me.  I am not a big fan of government taking my money, but this is in the Stimulus Bill.

Execution” – I am sure that he meant it in a software development way not a Logan’s Run kill you when you get old sort of way.

Forthcoming standards to be developed” – This is the most troubling one.  I have never seen anyone ask the President what will be the scope of the standards.  I believe that the American Medical Association publishes standards, so why do we need government to do it again.  An area to watch is the “Research on Comparative Effectiveness of Medical Treatments.  This document exists and was published by the Congressional Budget Office and states:

“which treatments work best for which patients and whether the added benefits of more effective, but more expensive services are sufficient to warrent their added costs.”

There is validity to this concept, I am not comfortable having a government agency, committee, or, God help us, another czar decree the standards.

This may sound conspiratorial, but could there be a connection between the electronic records and the standard of your care?  Are future doctors likely to be on-line during your exam, entering your test results and waiting for an approved treatment program from Washington?  Gee Mr. Smith, you smoke and are overweight so in order to preserve resources, we need you to step into this room for “renewal.”

What I love (and by “love” I mean hate) about big government pundits is that they always want to use a hatchet when a scalpel is indicated.  There are problems with healthcare costs.  I do believe that America has the BEST healthcare on Earth, but costs are increasing.  The answer from BIG GOV is bigger government.
Why not try a few simple steps first:

  • Pass tort reform to minimize the number of lawsuits filed against doctors.  This should reduce the costs to the doctors and eliminate defensive medicine.  Lower costs to doctors and fewer unnecessary tests should cost us less.  Simple.
  • Enforce illegal immigration laws (i.e. build the border fence that was legislated).  By all accounts, hospitals in border states are being bankrupted by the costs to treat illegal immigrants.  Remember, hospitals cannot refuse treatment.  These costs are added to the bills of those who have health insurance giving us the $200 aspirin. 
  • Institute the Fair Tax.  I know that does not have anything to do directly with health care, but the IRS agents that would no longer be necessary could then be used to investigate Medicare and Medicaid fraud. 

Why not try these first and see what happens? 

That would be an appropriate treatment plan.

2 CommentsLeave one

  1. Wimpy Washington Economics / Framing the Dialogue says:

    […] Ninth – THE BECK:  I named this one after Glenn Beck because of its dour outcome.  He and others have speculated, with a great deal of logic and historical precedence, that the way out of the debt crisis is to inflate the currency to such an extent that the dollar is worth much less and subsequently easier to pay off investors.  That would, of course, ruin all of our savings, investments, retirement accounts too forcing us to rely on Big Brother to take care of us in our golden years.  Have you ever seen the movie Logan’s Run? […]

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