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Tim Nerenz Health Care Town Hall Speech


So why are we all wee-weed up about health care? Because our politicians are forcing us to take sides in a contest between insurance companies and government bureaucrats. If that were a death match, most of us would be secretly hoping for a tie.

They are making this way more complicated than it needs to be.

Two years ago, I was wheeled in to Aspirus Hospital in Wausau, Wisconsin, paralyzed on my left side from the waist down. One day later, a team of neurosurgeons operated, 5 days later I walked out of the hospital, and a week later I was back at work. It cost less than my wife’s car.

That’s what is right about health care in America.

It took 6 more months to get the billing squared away and everybody paid. That’s what’s wrong with Health Care in America. If our elected representatives were here today to listen I would tell them this: leave the first part alone, fix the second part, and then take the rest of the year off before you screw it up again.

We pay $2.6 trillion for health care annually in this country. It would take 95% of all taxes collected for the government to provide health care to everyone. Only $1.4 trillion of that has anything to do with making you healthy or keeping you that way. The rest goes to the accountants, lawyers, social workers, billing clerks, government drones, jockeys, bureaucrats, actuaries, consultants, hedge fund mangers, claims processors, and benefits specialists – all those nice folks who don’t wear rubber gloves when they bend us over.

Here are two changes that Congress could write in one page and pass in a day that would cut out most of that wasted 40%. 1) Indemnify providers against lawsuits in which there is no criminal negligence alleged, and 2) eliminate 3rd party payer by using Health Savings Accounts to pay providers directly. That takes two of the biggest snouts out of the trough.

If we had American health care at 40% less cost, they would be having angry town hall meetings in France. And that should be the goal of health care reform, to get the French all wee-weed up.

President Obama promised my employees they could still choose private insurance if we had a public option. Sadly it won’t be up to either of them. The House Bill levies a payroll tax of 8% on employers who don’t provide health care benefits. That is less than half of the cost of a decent insurance premium; it is a simple business decision to drop coverage and pay the tax.

Businesses don’t have the luxury of dealing with the government that is promised, we must confront the one that is practiced. Don’t blame the players when the refs change the rules.

We all know what improves quality, reduces cost, and expands selection – choice and competition. Markets don’t work perfectly, but they work – we can’t say the same for government interventions. What keeps the small town auto mechanic honest? It’s not the policeman or the priest – it’s the second auto mechanic.

We are supposed to like government health care because the Europeans live longer. I frankly don’t care how old they are in Belgium. I would rather live free for 79 years than be a slave for 81. What about you?

Posted By Tim Nerenz, Ph.D. to 2010: Tim, Not Tammy at 8/28/2009 01:10:00 PM

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