Real World No Harvard
Though the healthcare debate is certainly not over, the battle lines have clearly been drawn.
In one camp are academics and their political allies who believe sophisticated mathematical models will revolutionize healthcare and drive down medical costs.
On the other side are average Joes who fear mysterious math models will ravage healthcare for older Americans, in the same way the bogus equations behind Wall Street’s derivatives ruined their 401(k)s.
For 30 years, insurance companies have sought to manage healthcare costs by using mathematical formulas, in the form of health maintenance organizations. This type of insurance is sold primarily to businesses with healthy workers. If employees became too ill to continue working, they would drop off their company’s HMO membership roll.
It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that high premiums and low claims is a mathematical formula that results in lucrative profits for insurance companies. Under this scheme, the sick and unemployed end up as wards of the taxpayers under the Medicaid “public option.”
The HMO model mostly benefits young and healthy Americans who are infrequent users of healthcare services. This demographic often appreciates easy access to the neighborhood HMO walk-in clinic. Given that the young seldom require continuing medical treatment, having to wait in line to see a clinic doctor is a rare and minor inconvenience.
Average Joes already understand it would be inefficient and humiliating to force the chronically sick to wait in the same line for care, only to re-explain their ailments to an unknown physician in a bare bones clinic. Average Joes fear that “healthcare reform” will mean that their next visit to the doctor will be strikingly similar to their last trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The Obama administration’s plan to prioritize swine flu vaccinations for college students over the elderly is seen by average Joes as cost rationing.
In response to a rising panic by seniors, the director of the Department of Health and Human Services has stated that the basis for this decision was scientific studies. Average Joes worry that those studies might be biased because most healthcare research in America is performed by college students.
Academics are perplexed by the rising opposition of average Joes to their utopian vision of healthcare reform. When professors go for treatment at a campus clinic, their medical school’s finest doctors provide excellent care in beautiful state-of-the-art facilities. Armed with research papers that reinforce their own personal experience of high patient satisfaction, is it not surprising that academics are eager to convert the rest of America to their healthcare model?
With common sense on their side, the average Joes have seized the intellectual high ground. Academics and their political allies have failed to understand that, for the rest of us, the real world looks nothing like Harvard.
Chriss W. Street
Treasurer, County of Orange
Former chief executive of
Comprehensive Care Corp.