What kind of message does universal healthcare send to most Americans?  Yes, it is a government crafted message that will influence the actions of healthcare providers while also impacting the diets, exercise regimens, and healthcare decisions of millions of people even if they are independent thinkers.  What is that message?

Every government-imposed tax or law creates a reaction in the marketplace.  Some of the reactions are intended, others are unintended.  Our government has been passing laws regarding healthcare dating back to the Great Depression.  Since then a whole series of laws were crafted that forged how today's healthcare insurance and healthcare providers function.

The signing of the new Obamacare law in March 2010 (it is just now going mainstream) was a major extension of government control over what was once a free-market system.  The law states that every single living person in America, except illegal immigrants, must have health insurance or they will be fined.  When folks sign up for whatever health insurance policy they think best fits their needs, they pay various rates depending on nothing but their financial status.  This new government mandated health insurance program is not an option, therefore it is a tax.  If one does not sign up for Obamacare approved healthcare insurance the fine is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child in 2014.  That's correct, this is a tax on everyone in the United States who is alive.

In this system people pay the insurers and insurers pay the medical providers.  Because the insurers pay the bills, they dictate which healthcare procedures and drugs are approved for payment.  The laws and regulations governing payments to doctors and hospitals obviously influences the services they provide.  Unless they are prepared to not use one cent of their insurance "privileges" patients are no longer in a position to negotiate the costs and extent of their healthcare.  If doctors, hospitals, and even private practitioners do not follow proper mandated procedures the health insurance companies and/or the government will not pay the providers.  This means if a doctor wants to make certain his services are covered by insurance he cannot be innovative nor recommend postponing "required" operations and drugs if he thinks merely changing a lifestyle function will solve the health issue.  This is the primary reason why when you go to a doctor these days they have a "take it (tests, drugs, operations) or you'll die" attitude.  It's their way or the highway.

This sounds bad, yet what is worse than that is the message Obamacare sends to the undisciplined and ignorant masses who follow the crowd.  Part of the marketing mantra for universal healthcare coverage is that it keeps people healthy because it pays for wellness visits and preventative screenings.  For instance on Obamacare Facts it says:  Waiting to treat illness until a person is sick, instead of focusing on prevention, has had a direct effect on the rising health care costs in the U.S. and has caused many Americans to put off seeing a doctor until it's too late due to cost.  Preventive care helps you stay healthy.  A doctor isn't someone to see only when you're sick.  Doctors also provide services that help keep you healthy.

Yes, we're being told that by just seeing a doctor you'll be healthier.  If this were true, then why are so many millions of people, who already get annual physicals, still contracting chronic diseases at the same rate as people who do not have annual checkups?  Why aren't the many tens of millions of people who are already suffering from chronic diseases and visiting their doctors on a regular basis not being cured?  Doesn't anyone wonder about that?

People are not being cured of chronic diseases because they are taking a doctor's advise which is to take drugs and/or undergo operations.  If diet is mentioned doctors recommend the USDA's grain-based dietary guidelines.  By following official protocol doctors are assured of being paid while gaining some level of protection against liability.  Not surprisingly on the other side of the ledger, even when individuals learn about scientifically proven lifestyle changes that will improve their health and well being, few of them have the willpower to change their dietary and exercise habits.  Instead they prefer the easy way out which is to pop a pill and believe in their doctor because that approach takes little effort, no changes in their lifestyles, is accepted as proper, and they've "paid" for it.  If they are affected by a chronic disease they just chalk it up to bad luck or genetics.

The Unintended Consequences

The message that folks will be healthier because they have virtually unlimited healthcare for a reasonable insurance premium will have consequences.  It implies that the primary lifestyle change required to improve one's health is to sign up for the insurance.  One's health will improve because one gets "free" wellness visits and preventative screenings.  Undoubtedly this will create significantly more demand for a limited quantity of services – driving costs even higher or the quality of services lower.  Additionally, with people believing they will be healthier because they are getting annual physicals, their incentive to change to a healthier lifestyle diminishes.

So what about those of us who really strive to eat and exercise correctly for our health and fitness?  We are already paying more for proper food, utilizing iron-clad discipline to stay on track, and making social sacrifices to make sure our bodies are fueled properly.  We also exercise using the Super Slow high intensity approach.  (More on Super Slow in the next newsletter.)  Consequently our health is better than the masses by a log shot.  We rarely if ever use any healthcare services except for injuries, infectious diseases, and such.  In spite of the fact that we are protecting our health and curing and/or suppressing our chronic diseases, we are treated the same as everyone else who leans heavily on the healthcare system.  To make matters worse, we either pay or we will be fined.  This means we are financially penalized for our good acts by being required to pay extra to subsidize the healthcare of others who refuse to take the steps required for optimizing their health.  In effect we pay double – more for prevention and more for coverage.  That doesn't happen with other forms of insurance where actions, locations, training, and such impact rates.

But the financial burden does not stop there!  In addition to being required to carry coverage for health issues that we are taking steps to avoid with healthier lifestyles, we must pay based on a means tested basis.  In other words, the higher our incomes are in excess of 400% of the Federal Poverty Level, the higher our premiums will be.  Most of the people earning less than 400% of the poverty level are eligible for cost assistance.  There is more.  Here's a list of taxes from the Obamacare Facts website.

The Medicare part A income tax is raised on those over the $200/$250k mark. The increase is .09% to the existing Medicare tax and will help boost the Medicare trust fund.

     The controversial 2.3% excise tax on medical devices goes into effect on 2013. The "ObamaCare" 2013 tax doesn't include hearing aids or corrective lenses, but does include devices like defibrillators, pacemakers, artificial joints and others.

     The medical expense ceiling for which Americans can get a tax deduction is raised from 7.5% to 10% in 2013 due to ObamaCare.

     There are new caps on FSAs, HSAs, Archer and other similar programs.

     To help Americans better understand where their healthcare spending is going W-2 tax forms issued for 2012 and beyond must include a line showing the benefit employees receive from their employer-sponsored health care.

I know many people believe it's just fine for the government to take from some people and give to others.  But I do not agree.  That's because when the government does that, it's at the point of a gun.  It is not voluntary.  It also treats a whole class of people as if they are one and the same like a flock of geese.  It does not take into consideration the impact extra taxes have on each individual situation.  For instance the individual being taxed may be trying to start a business that will hire many people.  On the other hand the free market treats everyone individually.  In a free market people can be charitable with their surplus if they so desire.  If the want to start a business with their surplus, they can do just that.  If they want to spend it, save it, invest it, they can do that too.

In most cases, when individuals are charitable, they not only means-test their charity but strive to see if its impact remains positive.  This is constructive.  When a government hands out money, the legislation dictating it creates a "right" for those on the receiving end.  All the recipients have to do is fall into a designated category and they get the money no matter what.  They do not have to take any actions (or what actions they are required to take are meaningless) to receive payments or credits.  That means when people lead very abusive lifestyles, do not work, are indigent, and chronically ill because of their lifestyle choices, they are not required to change their damaging lifestyles.  They are actually rewarded with numerous subsidies for not changing!

For instance, I've hired people whose goal after 12 months or so of work was to get fired so they could collect unemployment.  I've known people who have been incredibly expensive burdens on welfare, Medicaid, Social Security, housing allowances, energy subsidies, etc., etc., for decades before they died.  They never lifted a finger to help themselves.  In fact they did just the opposite.  Incredibly, I know one who recently underwent a very expensive surgical operation and complex followup treatment just weeks before death.  The last few weeks of life probably cost taxpayers over a million dollars.

Slowly, but very assuredly, Americans are becoming subjects of a suppressive government.  Now the government has completed the transformation of our healthcare system into a diabolical beast.  Doug McGuff, M.D. tells everyone who will listen that they must take care of themselves with proper food and exercise.  He says it is imperative in this day and age to keep ourselves out of the "belly of the beast."  We must pay attention to the principles of The Real Diet of Man.  For more information on this healthcare topic listen to Doug's talk titled Fitness, Health, and Liberty.  His talk is critically important so don't miss it.  

After reading this and watching Doug, then let's spread the word.  Use the "Like" buttons.  Too often we believe our passion for health and fitness falls on deaf ears and we are reluctant to show it.  But the mission for constructive change is noble.  So we must keep trying.  Every once in awhile the message gets through and an individual makes a commitment for change.  Positively the very act of trying reinforces our own determination for optimizing our own health and fitness.  That is most important.  We are all 100% dependent on our own decisions in that regard.

Ted Slanker
February 5, 2014