A recent newspaper article reported that, instead of reducing Emergency Room visits, the self-styled Healthcare ‘Reform’ Act (HR 3590), will increase visits to these already over-burdened facilities. Washington’s prediction of reduced ER visits was another demonstration of magical thinking.
Small children are magical thinkers. Ask any psychologist, pediatrician or parent. Magical thinkers believe that because they want it or can conceive of it, “it” is so or will be so. The magically thinking child ties a cape on his back and KNOWS he can fly. When he jumps off the roof, he will of course fall, not soar like Superman.
Those in Washington – both Congressional leaders and the White House – are magical thinkers. Because they say it, “it” will be. If House Speaker Pelosi says that HR 3590 will save money, it must save money. If President Obama says that the Bill will increase care, reduce errors and improve quality, it will happen (because he said so).
The reason most adults do not don capes and jump off roofs is evidence. They may have tried it as a child and have the painful evidence in memory of a broken leg. They may read in the newspaper or see on TV the evidence of what happened to a child who tried it. They may simply consider the centuries old evidence about gravity and deceleration injury.
Is there evidence about healthcare, evidence that Washington ignored? Absolutely!
“HR 3590 will save money.” Every entitlement Program ever enacted has: a) cost more than projected, and b) spent money we did not have or do not have. No entitlement Program EVER saved money. There is overwhelming evidence to prove this.
“HR 3590 will provide care for 30 million uninsured Americans.” Is there evidence to confirm or refute this? Again, yes. Take the experience with Medicare, Medicaid and all other government health insurance programs.
If Medicare pays less than the doctor’s cost-of-staying-in-business (which it does), then the doctor CAN NOT (this is not a question of will not) accept a Medicare patient. If having Medicare insurance guarantees the doctor will not see you, then having government insurance guarantees that you will NOT GET CARE: the opposite of what was promised. Unfortunately, things are even worse than that.
Having any kind of insurance – government or private – may not guarantee getting care. Evidence shows a 20% fall-off in applications to U.S. medical schools. Forty percent of physicians in their prime are considering early retirement. There is hard evidence about our nursing shortage: over 500,000 positions are presently unfilled. So even if you had insurance and even if it paid well, you cannot get care if there are no nurses or doctors. Having insurance does not equal receiving care, and magical thinking will not make it so.
“HR 3590 will reduce errors and improve quality.” This is more magical thinking or worse, a WMDc (weapon of mass deception). To do either – reduce errors or improve quality – providers must learn. That means taking risks and easy access to lots of data, including bad outcomes. Evidence shows that the tort system, the security tightening of HR 3590, and FDA draconian regulations are killing healthcare’s ability to try new things and learn.
Magical thinking by children can harm them. Magical thinking by Washington can kill us. Those with power in Washington are not children, but they think like children, magically, and ignore the evidence.
We tolerate magical thinking by children: that is part of childhood.
Why do we tolerate such behavior in our ‘Representatives?’