Now that everything is caught up as far as the doctors, hospitals et al, I guess it’s time to explain where the name of this blog originated.
Originally I had wanted to call it, Living and Dying in 3/4 Time, but Jimmy Buffett probably has more attorneys than I do. So I thought about it for at least a few minutes, and decided on Through the Net.
The meaning of the name is, to me, simple. Social services, public option healthcare, and other entitlements are safety nets that society provides for those that have come under unforeseen or unfortunate circumstances. They should not be lifestyle choices, or a generational cycle of living. However, in our modern American society, too many people have corrupted and gamed the system. This is part of the reason that entitlement spending has become so out of control, as to nearly bankrupt this country. The idea should be to protect those that are most vulnerable: the sick, widowed, orphaned, elderly.
The need for reform in the healthcare system is obvious. But to simply mandate that everyone have some form of insurance, a subject being debated and adjudicated as to its Constitutionality, isn’t the way. To push for a single payer option, universal healthcare, is also not a viable or sensible option. Common sense says to allow the free market to drive the price of insurance, and allow consumers to purchase insurance where ever they can get the best price. Another problem that needs addressed is the increasingly litigious society in which we live. Tort reform on medical malpractice needs done, unfortunately, organizations such as the American Association for Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) is so imbedded with American politics that any true tort reform is nearly impossible to achieve.
Don’t misunderstand me, if there are cases of gross incompetence, malfeasance, or deliberate acts by an individual or corporation that knowingly injure or kill someone, then the parties responsible should be held liable and punitive damages are reasonable. The issues come in when a party is injured/killed or becomes sick from exposure to some chemical or substance, and at the time the chemical or substance was being produced and used the health implications were unknown. Lawyers jump on the bandwagon of class action lawsuits, and go after the “deep pockets” of corporate America. While it may seem noble to think that “Auntie Mae” is going to get a nice check for the loss of her husband due to years of working in shipyards and being exposed to toxins, the reality is that the lawyers are the ones getting the bulk of the money.
Saying today that the manufacturer of a product taken or used 20, 30 or 40 years ago, a product at the time hailed as being the next best thing to sliced bread, is liable for illness or injury many years later, is not unlike the city putting up a new stop sign, and the police going back and retroactively giving tickets to drivers that had previously not stopped at that intersection. That is why the founders of this country wrote into our Constitution the prohibition of ex post facto laws (Article 1, Sections 9 and 10).
The idea that a company “should have known” what the end result of their product was is a fallacious argument. If a man has unprotected sex with a woman and she gets pregnant, they both should have known the potential liability (and no I am not anti-kid). However, if someone purchases a cup of coffee at a local fast food place and spills it in their lap, it is NOT the fast food place’s responsibility to protect the consumer from their own stupidity. The fast food joint could not have known that they were serving an idiot. Yet, due to someone’s desire to pick the pockets of corporate America, we now have warning labels all over our coffee telling us that it’s hot. Perhaps we need to start tattooing warning labels on children so that when they grow up they know that unprotected sex can lead to babies.
My point is thus, reform the laws that allow lawyers to get rich off the misery of others, if the actions of a defendant were not deliberately or maliciously intentional. No matter how hard we try and protect ourselves from ourselves, people are idiots. The old saying goes, if you idiot proof something, someone will build a better idiot. But back to healthcare.
My biggest fear with the single payer option is that an already overburdened system will not be able to handle the influx of new patients. If it is now taking months and months to get an appointment to see a doctor, imagine what the system will be like with tens of millions more patients thrown into the mix. Proponents of a single payer system like to tout the European and Canadian models as examples of how it is a better, fairer system. Britain is moving away from universal healthcare, and we are seeing the results of decades of unbridled entitlements destroying the economies of Greece, Spain and other European countries. Countries that have far less population than the US.
Keep the public hospitals and social programs available to those that truly need them, but do not crush the system by forcing millions more into it. Allow market forces to dictate pricing. Allow people the freedom to purchase insurance where ever they can find it cheap.
So why “Through the Net” as a name? Because if America continues down the road it is going, the “safety net” that is there to help people will no longer look like a minnow seine, but rather like the sails of the Black Pearl, full of holes that allow too many to fall through the net.