By Jane M. Orient, M.D.
As Congress struggles to do something about the ObamaCare disaster, Senators may be getting calls pleading, “Don’t take my healthcare away!” But the more influential voices will be whispering, “Don’t take my ObamaCare dollars away!”
The American Medical Association (AMA), for example, is urging people to call about “cuts” (constrained growth) to Medicaid.
Let’s get the terminology straight: The government cannot “take away” or “give” you health care. Caring for your health is something you do—or don’t do—yourself. It costs practically nothing; in fact, it saves you money. Nonsmokers save thousands of dollars a year. Walking around the block every day is free—and maybe you’ll meet your neighbor. Healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables cost something, but less than Starbucks coffee-flavored milkshakes or fast-food lunches. Being faithful to your spouse pays huge dividends.
You can go to a “healthcare provider,” get counseled on smoking cessation, and have all your bad habits, risk factors, and soon probably your DNA and political views recorded in an electronic data base, accessible to the government and thousands of other entities. They will constantly score you—on your value to society, eligibility to own a self-defense tool, suitability for a loan or a job, and eventually perhaps your qualifications to have a child.
Your health depends on basic necessities not included in the $3 trillion poured into the “health care system” every year. Lacking a place to stay warm and dry, one homeless person lost his feet to frostbite, while Medicaid was paying someone $563 every month just to have him on a list of enrollees. Last year, Nevada Medicaid paid managed-care companies as much as $213 million for more than 30,000 people who received no care at all. Maybe that money was taken from housing or law enforcement..