Monday, April 03, 2006

Where Capitalism Ends and Greed Begins

In our society, prices of goods and services are rising, which is a surprise to no one. This is part of the capitalistic society that we all enjoy and support everyday. As long as the wages continue to rise along with the prices of goods and services we should all be content, right? This is the way capitalism generally works and how the free market system has worked for many years. But, what happens when some of the services are “needs” rather than “wants” and the community that controls these services decides that they as a profession are entitled to greater market share and are more than willing to exploit those that must purchase these needs? This seems to be the case in the United States medical system.

There is no doubt that the United States has the best and most qualified doctors in the world, even if you can’t always afford it. It has come to be by way through the free market system. So getting rid of the free market system and going over to a socialized system would be a disaster for our health care. Unfortunately, costs in our current system are out of control. Out-patient surgery routinely costs $10,000 and more. Some of these costs are pregnancy tests for all women, even if they have gone through menopause and $500.00 charges for light bulbs in the operating rooms. Imagine if you had to stay the night there!

There are a few factors that contribute to the exorbitant costs of health care. One is that everyone who shows up in an emergency room must be taken care of regardless if they can pay for it or not. If they cannot, the bill is then passed on to the consumer that is paying $300.00 a month for insurance, thus the insurance company pays about three times what it should for each patient it insures. The insurance company would rather pay it off than fight it in court and wind up paying a legal team more money to save a couple of bucks. Another is the greed that we see today in the medical community. I am afraid that doctors today go into medicine for the money rather than to help those who need it. Doctors always complain about the high costs of malpractice insurance (which is also out of control) but it isn’t so high that it keeps them from living in million-dollar homes. So, for medical and hospital personnel to say that they have to charge so much to cover their insurance costs and their costs of prior schooling is simply not the whole story.

If they were really interested in what was best for you they would bring home $100,000.00 instead of a cool half million and pass the savings on to the consumer. Would the insurance companies lower their premiums though? Probably not; they’re a bunch of greedy people too! Think of it like this: If a star athlete was really interested in what was good for the team, would that athlete hop all over the place for more money all the time and leave his team high and dry? No, but what happens in the medical community is much worse. Sports are something people want to see, while medical care is something a person must have. To me it is the same as if the water companies collectively pushed the water cost up to $5.00 per gallon. It would break us, but what could we do? We can’t live without water. So we’re stuck being robbed by the medical community and those who battle with the medical community for the money we pump into it.

What’s ironic about the situation is that the medical community’s greed will eventually force prices so high that there will be no choice for the American people but to have a socialized health care system. Nobody will be able to afford health care or simply won’t buy it because of the prices. They’ll take their chances and if something does happen that is catastrophic, there is always the free emergency room to fall back on. This is exactly what the liberal establishment in America wants. Lawyers are part of the problem as well. They’re interested in the 33% they get and making sure that a victim of an accident is then victimized by them. That’s real nice.

So what can be done about it? Well, that’s when morals come into play. Let’s assume socialized medicine is not the solution. People in the United States, mainly professional and white collar America, have to be willing to do for their fellow man and deal with having a Honda Accord rather than a Porsche. The problem is a self-prescribed fix, not a legal or government controlled action. The reward internally to the soul has to be greater than the financial reward. When a person gets into a service industry where that person is providing a need to a client, that person should have the character that dictates their unrelenting want to help those that need it most. That person should have a character that is pleased with providing an affordable service at an affordable price, maybe not making lots of money, but providing lots of change in people’s life. Greed in the medical, legal, and insurance communities is holding America hostage to one of our most basic needs. A health care system that cares for the patients more than it cares about the house they live and the car they drive home.

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