As we plunge into an era of health-care reform, I’d like everyone to pause and think for just a minute.  Suppose I had a gold mine in my back yard.  And suppose it was worth an enormous amount of money.   For the sake of argument, imagine that I employ hundreds of workers.  Yes, the project is expensive, but I have lots of orders for gold, my employees have solid work, the demand for gold just keeps rising and the vein under my house never seems to dry up.  Sure, running it is expensive.  It’s sometimes difficult.  It’s messy.  But the benefits to all are unquestionable.  So, a panel of government experts on gold and economics come and explain to me that it’s all just too expensive and messy.  Running it benefits my family, but it costs more than our food budget, our entertainment budget and our travel budget.  Of course, the profits more than outweigh all of that, but it still seems expensive.  They counsel me to limit gold production, despite demand.  They counsel me to stop looking for new veins on my land.  And they suggest that I only sell small amounts of it to everyone, even if some of my customers could spend money for lots of it.  Further, they set up a plan whereby the government will buy it for distribution to all, at a drastically reduced rate.  Then they tell me I have to abide by that plan, or I can’t mine gold anymore at all.

Stupid, eh?  Well, analogies are always imperfect.  But my point is this.  Health-care, at someowhere around 16% of GNP, is like the gold mine.  It employs vast numbers.  It is in high demand.  It innovates.  It saves lives and preserves function.  It has problems, like every industry.  It isn’t perfect.  It is expensive, granted.  But most industries are!  You want a cheap industry?  Shoot pigeons on college campuses for money.  All you have to guy is some night vision equipment and a good air rifle.  Medicine?  The auto industry?  Energy?  All costly.

So, as we bail out industry afer industry because they are necessary, and employ lots of people; because they produce important products or technologies, why is there this rush to limit health-care?  To limit, of all things, innovation?  To limit access?  Are we limiting computer access?  Are we rationing computers?  Are we asking Microsoft to back off of new technologies so that everything is cheaper?  Morons!  What happens when you advance technology?  For heaven’s sake, people, everyone is walking around with a Blackberry, iPHone or iPhone equivalent.  How much would that have cost 50 years ago?  Medical care, if unrestricted by ludicrous government inefficiency, will get cheaper and better, as it has for decades!

Furthermore, and here’s my main point, why aren’t we exporting medical care and technology like mad?  Why aren’t we starting medical schools in countries that lack proper ones?  Why aren’t we starting cash-only, for profit hospitals everywhere we can?  Some places might not want us, but plenty would.  Where do rich oil-magnates come?  Here.  Where do rich people all over the world come?  Here.  Why aren’t we going to them to market our products, our science, our physicians and nurses?  Phillipine nurses come here to work.  Why not recruit and send our own around the world to demonstrate the quality of our medical work-force?  Why worry about drug companies?  Encourage them to produce new things and market them everywhere!  Use their expertise!

We have a gold mine.  We have a culture built on compassion and concern for human life; and if you read your history or news, you’ll see that’s a rare commodity in the world.  We could change the world, lengthen lives, increase the quality of lives, everywhere on earth.  But only if we use the market to do it.  We’ve done a fine job of exporting US technology in death.  We make the best weapons in the world.  But we also make the best doctors and nurses, chemists and physicists and all the rest who work in health-care.  Let’s change the way the world views us by making the world healthier.

All I can assume, is that those ideologues who want to restrict health-care really are persons opposed to humanity.  They want less health-care, not to reduce costs.  That’s the smoke-screen.  They just don’t like people.  They want death to reign.  With death comes misery; with misery comes power and ascendency.

So let’s dig some gold, as a nation, and ship our product around the globe.  Want to change the economy?  There’s the answer, stupid.

Edwin

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