A Vision for a Truly American Health Care System
On January 21, 2012, Dr. David McKalip, of St. Petersburg, Florida organized a rally in honor of Freedom and Justice for All. I was blessed with an invitation to speak at this event.
My sincerest gratitude goes to Dr. David Mckalip; not so much for the opportunity to address those assembled, for his devotion to those principles that enshrouded this country with greatness.
I hope you enjoy reading the speech I wrote for that event and which I delivered on that glorious Saturday afternoon.
Julio Gonzalez, M.D.
Ladies and Gentlemen;
We are truly blessed to be Floridians on such a majestic day and to be part of this, the Greatest Nation Mankind Has Ever Known.
In this, the eve of the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I will begin with a moment of silence for the millions of American citizens who were unable to join us here today due to the gross infringement of the judiciary upon the legislative branch of government.
I must also thank Dr. David McKalip for the Herculean effort he has undertaken to put this rally together. David you are a credit to your profession, and you are a shining example of the power of the individual. I assure you that any health care system I design will surely include you.
I have been challenged with the very simple task of providing you with the solution for our country’s health care system and deliver that solution to you in the remainder of ten minutes.
Of course, my initial inclination is to look at the work of experts. There are countless epidemiologists, economists, public policy experts, health care professionals, and even doctors who have opined on this topic. This is the very approach our politicians have taken. They have studied the problem; applied theoretical analysis and provided us with an answer. It is one constructed from the top down. One where federal agencies are empowered with deciding what the appropriate expenditures on the various portions of health care ought to be. It is one where all of us are required to purchase an insurance product or pay a fine. It is one where the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services mandates how much each of the different participants in health care delivery will be reimbursed for the various services, and where those reimbursements vary depending on compliance with the goals imposed upon the various providers. These targets are labeled quality measures, but they are actually cost effectiveness goals. That’s the expert’s solution.
And what has it given us?
Medicare and Medicaid carries a budget of $793 billion. It makes up 23% of the federal government’s expenditure. Politicians do not have the expertise, nor the will to cut this mammoth program.
This very year, health care insurance premiums will increase by 8.9% atop of the 7% increase it saw last year. Approximately, 17% of the increase will come out of the employee for single coverage and 27% for family coverage.
With every rule that gets enacted, a portion of your liberty; your freedom to plan, create, and execute a treatment regimen is removed from you, placing the proverbial federal bureaucrat in the examination room with your doctor and you, repeating the immortal words he so wants you to believe; “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”
That’s what we get when we let the experts decide. That’s what we get when we let the federal government administer your health care.
There is another alternative. Another group we can look to for guidance.
The Founding Fathers.
Dr. Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence and Father of American Medicine said it well: “Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship to restrict the art of healing to one class of Men and deny equal privileges to others.” His foresight was prophetic.
When we approach health care from the viewpoint of the Founding Fathers, the overarching, driving principle becomes the protection of liberty and the separation of powers. With every step of the erection of our federalist form of government, the participation of the federal government would be inherently limited and the freedom of the patient to decide what the best care plan for him was left to the private conversations between his doctor and him.
If there were a need for the state to intervene, to provide for the health care of the citizens, it would fall not upon the federal government, but on the governments of the various states. The founding fathers would design this for three reasons; one legal, and the other two practical.
- The legal reason: Because the powers of the federal government are limited to those directly enumerated in Article I Section 8 of the Constitution, and deciding the care you do and do not get is not one of them.
- The first practical reason: Because placing health care regulation in the hands of the state positions it closer to the voices of the people, and therefore, more directly under their control.
- The second practical reason: Because although the states have the power to tax, they do not have the power to print money. Thus inherently checking the state’s tendency to make promises it cannot possibly keep….except perhaps in California.
If left to the Founding Fathers, health care would be funded by the individual. In cases where the cost of receiving treatment became excessive, it would be aided by the family, by the local churches, and community activists who took it upon themselves to lend a helping hand to those who couldn’t help themselves.
And, most importantly, health care delivery would be delivered in a society where God and worship played central roles in human interaction. And no, not because the government demanded it, (for we know in the words of Thomas Jefferson memorialized in his legally-inapplicable letter to the Dansbury Baptist Association and misapplied by the Supreme Court in Reynolds v U.S. and Everson v. Board of Education-there must be a wall between church and state), but because the state provided an environment that encouraged worship and supported the concept of the family as society’s building block.
My friends, the solution to our nation’s health care cannot be found in the acts of politicians or in the visions of experts. It is rather found in the moral compass provided to us by our Creator and in the unyielding pledge that each and everyone of us is committed, as individuals, to a reality that is bigger than ourselves.
It strikes me that this is the vision that will not only fix our health care woes, but restore our nation to the status thrust upon us by John Winthrop and restated by President Ronald Reagan: that we shall be viewed by all others as that Shining Citty on the Hill which all will strive to emulate.
It is a system that would force the World Health Organization, should it ever again try to rank the world’s health care systems, to rank ours as the top 53. One for each of the states, two for our territories and yes, one in the District of Columbia.
Those are the health care systems the Founders would have envisioned. Majestic in their diversity. Inspirational in their uniqueness. And most of all, subservient to the people; and not the other way around.
I thank you for your attention, and may God Bless this Wonderful Country.