Apart from the political implications, the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare is rich in life, business, moral, and economic lessons. Since this Minute was recorded in November 2009, an erroneous and displaced argument continues to be frustratingly waged in a legal, economic, social, political, and medical firestorm. It seems, however, that there is a deeper moral question at work here.
On-Purpose Business Minutes aren’t political in nature. They’re intended to get you below the surface to strategic issues that touch our lives and inform our thinking. By design, my goal is often to disturb your thinking in a manner that gets you closer to the root of the matter — to the purpose. Until you know the purpose, you can’t align your life to be on-purpose. This Minute will likely deliver on disturbing thinking!
My jaw dropped in stunned amazement as I heard Florida Congresswoman, now Democratic National Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz make the following statement on the November 22, 2009, ABC News broadcast of This Week With George Stephanopoulos. The following quotation from Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz’s comments can be found in context at this link in the show transcript.
“I hope we can all agree that we have to get rid of the profit-driven, insurance company-driven health insurance system that we have, where it’s insurance company bureaucrats, Senator Coburn, that are getting in between patients and their doctors.
“To suggest that this (healthcare reform) bill will put government in between patients and their doctors is really disingenuous …”
What has changed since 2009? Her comments are important because they reflect the crux of so much of the misplaced debate in the U.S. over healthcare reform. The failure to address core principles is a classic case of arguing sentiment over underlying values and structure that make their way into policy. Read between the lines of what she is saying here about free enterprise, economics, and so forth when she calls for “get[ting] rid of the profit-driven, insurance company-driven health insurance system.” Ask yourself if her comments represent healthcare reform or a reflection of an underlying philosophy of socialism or ignorance of the free enterprise system that created the amazing medical standards of care in the United States?
Here’s where I fall out on the matter … Yes, it is not only fair to profit off of a sick person — it is essential to the health of the individual and greater society. When the business side of doctors’ practices, insurance companies, hospitals, and medical supply companies are healthy, then the people are healthy. Free enterprise tends to increase access to healthcare, raise the standard, and make it more affordable to all. Legislation by definition comes between people’s relationships and behaviors. This burdens the delivery system with additional costs of compliance and drives up costs.
The debate over access to health insurance is a straw man argument. The true question to ask is, Can a sick or injured person gain access to healthcare? Yes! That is not a problem thanks to the Hippocratic Oath and community-based hospital systems that allocate dollars from revenues generated to care for the indigent. Persons in need are not denied healthcare. “The Emergency Medical and Treatment Labor Act (EMTLA) passed by Congress in 1986 explicitly forbids the denial of care to indigent or uninsured patients based on a lack of ability to pay.”
Health insurance is simply a means to pay for services on a shared risk basis that opens up more options to policy holders who choose to participate with their dollars. When every person has access to healthcare, why must every person have health insurance? The moral argument is basically settled. The ill and informed are cared for whether they can afford it or not. Society has deemed that to be essential to the well-being of the nation.
Access to healthcare is a right. Health insurance, however, is a choice — not a right. Choice, however, is the essential element of a free market economy.
Choices come with consequences. Many a time I can look back at my choices and wish I had chosen differently. But I live with my choices and learn from them.
To the original question, the profit motive fuels the engine of creativity and innovation across all sectors of the economy including bio-medicine and healthcare. Entrepreneurs and business people are like economic ants swarming to find a strategic, market, or price advantage crack to gain access to and serve customers. In some minds, this behavior is seen as being unsavory and “disingenuous” and greedy. On the other hand, the profit motive fuels cost reductions, stimulates product/service enhancements, and drives down costs to the consumer in total. Free enterprise creates freedoms in a free society. Within the free enterprise system the legal system catches and punishes those who violate the law. Profit, however, is not a criminal act.
Purpose, however, is an even greater force than profit. Purpose can lightly be thought of as the inherent desire to contribute to the well-being of another person, what is often called “Making a difference.” Purpose is service. When service and profit are integrated then the heart and the head come together to produce high and noble outcomes that profit us all.
Profit with purpose is a reason the USA has the greatest medical delivery system in the world. It is also why the USA is the wealthiest nation in the world. This combination of moral clarity, technical excellence, and business acumen provides remarkable strategic advantages.
Reform is needed, but to radically alter the course of the socio-economic sanity is the greatest threat to the health of our citizens, country, and the world — especially the coming generations.
How to reduce the costs of healthcare for yourself and the country?
Here’s the Kevin W. McCarthy Solution: 70% of Americans are overweight. Let’s encourage every American to get to a healthier place — to take personal responsibility for what they eat by making healthier choices. The rising cost of the healthcare crisis will end. Doctors will be able to practice acute care medicine instead of wasting their time and talent patching up and medicating our self-inflicted “wounds.”
The true culprit to our the healthcare crisis is a nation’s collective choices of unhealthy habits and lifestyles. Personal responsibility matters deeply in one’s health and well-being. Dumping the cost of one’s unhealthy decisions onto our neighbors isn’t loving them. It is asking our neighbors to underwrite the consequences of our poor choices.
The greatest “pork” in ObamaCare isn’t in the bill itself — although it is massive. The real “pork” is in the people who are weighting down the economy with the mindless self-selecting of diseases like Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, gout, cholesterol, and more. These obesity-related diseases lead to strokes, heart attacks, cancers, premature disability, and death — an ironic and discriminating form of Darwin’s natural selection, but a waste of human life by any measure.
Do you love your country? Then, get to a healthier place! Stop the slow killing of yourself starting today. If you can’t do it on your own, then get help. There’s no sense giving away your hard earned “profits” when you can gain health and lower the full costs of your healthcare.
Your comments are appreciated.
P.S. Need assistance? Ready to see “the waist” go away? Talk with the Health Coach who forwarded this message to you.
Need a health coach? Talk to my wife, Judith. She can help you get to a healthier place. Go to www.ahealthierplace.com or call her at 407.927.1642.