Letter to the Editor: The reality of health care
Two weeks ago we debated LD 882 in the Maine House. The bill would simply bring Maine's Health Care mandates in line with those required by the Affordable Health Care Act (ObamaCare). Maine currently has many more mandates than even this 2,000-page bill requires. We know from a recent Gorman study that Maine's private insurance rates are projected to rise 38 percent when the federal law is implemented. During the speech, I ridiculed the idea that my 20-year-old son should be required to buy health insurance mandating pap smears. As a result the Maine People's Alliance is attacking me for being anti-women. The point was not about women's issues for my son or prostate exams for my daughter, or anything of the sort. The point was why would Maine require more extravagant mandates than the federal government. A pap smear exam should be part of any annual check up for any women of the appropriate age as determined by between her and her doctor, not determined by government mandate.
As a result I find I have to respond to a storm of criticism. The good news is that no one has actually argued that young men should be covered for pap smear examinations, so I don’t have to provide a short lesson in basic anatomy.
I’m being damned for suggesting that there could or should be any restrictions on the cost of health care. We are hearing that you can’t put a price tag on a human life and that everyone has a “right” to complete health care coverage without regard to cost.
I have doubts about any new-found rights which are claims on other people’s income, but that’s not the thing about these hostile reactions, which is most interesting. The thing which really puzzles me is the belief that there must never, ever be restrictions on the cost of health care.
This may be a nice sentiment, but it’s a fantasy that has no place in the real world. Health care always runs into limits. Governments either rations it (a limit and burden on the patients) or imposes price controls (a limit and burden on the care-givers).
Private citizens confront the same reality. If old age ever brings me to the point where my children have the choice of prolonging my life in a coma for another six months at the cost of their homes, their savings and their credit, I hope and expect they will have the sense to tell the doctors to pull the plug. I believe that almost everyone would do the same, given the choices. That may be a cold thing to say, but reality is often cold. In the end, reality will always prevail over sentiment.
I know not everybody likes to hear these things. My only answer is that I did not invent reality. It’s not my responsibility. It existed before I was born and will continue after I die. Anyone objecting has to argue that yes, governments are willing to use up all their revenues on health care. With the current demographic picture we face in the western world any attempt to add excessive mandates to insurance plans will by nature disproportionately force the cost ever downward to the young. Leaving them with two bad choices: paying ever more expensive cost for health insurance, much for which they have no use for, or going without. Unfortunately this is the current state in Maine. The bill debated sought to offer some choice where we can to those who are under the heavy yoke of Maine's burdensome insurance mandates.