In this powerful and intensely personal article, Big Hollywood Editor-in-Chief John Nolte describes his wife’s struggle with “trigeminal neuralgia,” a nerve disorder that causes episodes of excruciating facial pain. It’s an extremely debilitating medical problem that has literally been deemed “The Suicide Disease” because it has driven so many sufferers to end their lives.
Nolte describes the years they spent visiting multiple doctors and desperately trying different treatments with great emotional detail. Blessedly, his wife was able to successfully obtain several newly-developed treatments and her symptoms have now abated.
My wife has the promise of her life back because of the dynamic innovation of our current health care system, and also, those individuals and institutions the Left is so determined to demonize…
I’m not arguing our current system is perfect and couldn’t use some major improvements…Yes, as I noted above, there were moments so frustrating that I would’ve gladly reached out for anything marked hope or change. But the bottom line is that what saved my wife can best be described with a single word: Innovation – and nothing drives away creativity and risk-taking and those industriously intelligent individuals good at both, faster than the punishing regulations, restrictions, red tape and overbearing punitive measures that always come with government interference.
Had ObamaCare become the law of the land ten years ago would the perfect storm of scientists, technicians, thinkers, and doctors have been around to create the medications and equipment necessary to give my wife her life back? No one can say. But when you’re talking about the well-being of my wife, or anyone’s loved one, “no one can say” is not an acceptable answer.
True, at first we trusted the system and it failed us. Miserably. But because the system is still mostly market-based this gave us choices and alternatives that made The Miracle possible.
What is wrong…is ObamaCare and its advocates stifling the kind of creativity that affects our quality of life, and this I fear will be the unintended consequence. This will also affect everyone. In the world of ObamaCare, the wealthy will most certainly continue to enjoy their elite, top-tier health coverage. But everyone will be in the same boat when it comes to paying the cost of whatever medical innovations are lost in the bureaucratic maze of what is now the law of the land…
Nolte is absolutely right. The American healthcare system is messy and chaotic and frustrating. Almost everyone has a dear friend or family member who has struggled at some point with the challenges of getting the treatment they need. But across the board, the American system provides quicker and better medical services to more people than that of any other nation.
Not only do we have a choice of doctors in virtually any specialty, doctors who will be able to select from a number of different medications and treatments to fix what ails us, we also benefit from American researchers who have pioneered new technology which allows for quicker and more detailed diagnoses of diseases before they even develop, e.g., the discovery of the mutation of the BRCA1 gene and its correlation to increased risk of breast cancer.
To give a more superficial example, capitalist ingenuity brings you stuff like Hot Pockets and iPads. Government-run development gets you a Trabant…also known as a Trabi, the East German car infamous for its cheap construction and poor mechanical reliability (see jokes here and here).
Research verified from a number of groups, including the left-leaning Kaiser Family Foundation and the U.S. Census Bureau, show that the actual number of uninsured Americans (i.e., those who are uninsured not because they have chosen to be, but because they cannot afford insurance) is, at most, about 14 million.
According to the 2010 Census, the current population of the United States is over 308 million, so 14 million is less than five percent. Obama and his Democrat allies in Congress have decided to tear apart our medical system, unconstitutionally mandate the purchase of individual insurance policies, and add billions of dollars of cost from added levels of bureaucracy and regulation, all supposedly justified by the ability to help less than five percent of the country.
You’ve probably seen discussions about the hundreds of new bureaucratic agencies and departments that will be needed to enforce and administer Obamacare, such as the thousands of new employees to be hired at the IRS. Americans for Tax Reform, citing research done by U.S. News and World Report, points out that the cost of ObamaCare just at the IRS alone will be over $359 million next year.
I cannot see how providing basic health care coverage for 5% of the U.S. (even if we paid for all of the costs) wouldn’t far cheaper than over-regulating all of us. If the Democrats actually wanted to help the poor and uninsured, they would be doing everything they could to encourage preventative care and reduce the use of emergency rooms as the major medical provider for uninsured Americans. Besides the fact that providing care in an ER is significantly more expensive, it’s also far more stressful for the patient. I mean, given the choice, would you rather make an appointment to see your primary care physician or wait for hours and hours in an ER with seriously ill and injured people?
I am cautiously optimistic that the constitutional challenges to Obamacare will succeed (everyone say a special prayer of encouragement for Pam Bondi, OK?), but in the meantime, Republicans in Congress as well as those who are seeking elected office need to keep hammering the points that Obamacare is a dangerously risky burden on the best parts of our health care system, while failing to adequately help the uninsured people that it claims justify the new legislation.
(You may also consider this post my statement that, while I’d vote for him over Obama, I will not be supporting Mitt Romney in the primary. Government takeover of health care and individual insurance mandates are not “conservative” ideas, in my opinion, and while I recognize there is no “perfect” candidate, this is just too big of a deal for me to look past.)
[Cross-posted at Sunshine State Sarah]