Legitimate government entries into the private lives of individuals involve healing and teaching. Maybe it is no irony that these two noble endeavors have become two of the nations largest and most penetrating “shakedowns”.
It is professed on most public stages, that our ills can be resolved by more proficient and enlightened education. If we fail to compete economically with the emerging countries it must be due to failures at the schoolhouse, etc. So, we must make new investments in teacher pay and brick and mortar. Never mind, we have been doing this plan for decades without any remarkable and overall improvement outcome. As an example, our nation is plagued with crimes and corruption, that many feel could be overcome by higher education standards. Yet, some of our most celebrated criminals are very well educated in most ways we evaluate learning.
No, education is not a panacea for our ills. But, directing our problems toward the schoolhouse is palatable for politicians. Politicians can spend money, ostensibly, for advancing education and get re-elected while waiting for the results of their policy. Thus, we have the grand illusion that more money for education can fix anything. There are other places to look for resolutions to the ills of education and society, but we dare not look there.
Likewise, the healing arts and healing sciences have enjoyed a rate of growth that exceeds most everything else. Health Care, is now at near 18% of GNP. And, projected (CBO) to be 25% in 2025.
These big increases in per capita costs have not made big changes in mortality. Mortality rates have inched up some, with the event of medical spending habits in the last few decades. Mortality rates didn’t budge in the first ten years of Medicare(1965-75). Yet, many countries, throughout the world, have greater life expectancy than Americans, which is now at 78 years. Same with infant morality. We are well behind the leaders.
Meanwhile the consumers, be it the third party payers or individuals, are being grossly overcharged for most any medical purchase.
Pharmaceuticals hail the miracle drugs that can dupe some people when they are advertised on the national media. Incidentally, we are one of the two countries in the world where promoting drugs this way is permitted.
The medical field suffers from a lack of competition or any other form of discipline. So, it is natural for costs to expand. The Affordable Care Act(ACA), might have laudable features, but offers too few solutions to runaway costs which everyone agrees is unsustainable. Everyone is making too much money ; the doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and especially insurance companies. These interests are monopolistic ! The free market has little or no influence on these powerful interest groups. In some states one insurance company writes 80% or more of the private policies.
It is also estimated that combined Medicaid and Medicare fraud could be in the 100 billion a year range. Apparently, the honor system is not working so well.
It is not right that healing should be a rogue business, but that is where it is landed !