Our latest Guest Blog Comes from Dr. Mike Newcomb.
Dr. Mike’s Arizona Republic Article From 8/18/09
The Arizona Republic
Obama’s Grade A-
America spends more on medical care than any country on the planet. But instead of a Cadillac we get a clunker. The facts don’t lie. The United States ranked 50th in life expectancy. France and Canada ranked in the top 10. Cuba, Canada, England and France all have lower infant mortality rates. Of 19 leading industrialized countries, the U.S. ranked last in preventable deaths from treatable illnesses. France was the best. If we treated our patients like the French 100,000 more Americans would be alive annually. In addition 100,000 Americans die annually from medical errors. Tragically these 200,000 preventable deaths alone are equivalent to a 9/11 tragedy occurring every 5.4 days!
Do we not have a compact to protect all our citizens from harm? Diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and the swine flu are also terrorists with the potential to kill millions of Americans every year. We now spend over $630 billion annually on military defense. What about healthcare defense? Would we accept a military that doesn’t protect 47 million Americans? Then why should we accept a healthcare system that does just that?
Obama proposes revamping our healthcare system to the tune of $90 billion/year over the next decade. That’s only 1/7th of what we spend annually for military defense with the upside of saving countless lives. Military and healthcare defense in tandem provide the greatest security.
Obama presents a bona fide free market solution to the current crisis. It’s called free market competition. It’s called the public option of which a majority of Americans favor. If Obama capitulates it will be his Waterloo.
Interestingly, Medicare simulates free market principles more so than the private sector. Any doctor can contract with Medicare. Private insurers close their panels then exact a surcharge if a doctor is not in their network. Medicare allows doctors and patients to make decisions without meddlesome bureaucrats. Private insurers interpose in the doctor-patient relationship by mandating preauthorization for services. Medicare spends less than 5 cents/dollar to administer the benefit. Private insurers spend upwards of 400% more. More choice, less regulation and more efficiency is what you’ll get with the public option.
Obama’s voluntary end-of-life counseling is both compassionate and necessary. Ironically, it was President Bush who as governor signed The Texas Futile Care Law which commissioned “death panels” that took baby Sun Hudson’s life in March 2005.
Both the private and government run systems do things well. President Obama is taking a “best of” hybrid approach. Let’s give him a chance. Afterall, the 1918 flu caused an estimated 50-100 million humans to perish worldwide. It would only take one American without access to our healthcare system to start the next worldwide flu pandemic. Is that a risk you’re willing to take?
Mike Newcomb, MD is a Geriatric and Hospice Physician. He also has a daily radio talk show on 1480 KPHX-AM from 3-6PM. Dr. Newcomb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org