Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Health of Our Health System

For this rant, let me qualify that in a prior career I was a Hospital Administrator and Health Care Consultant… for 15 years. I worked for the New York State Hospital Association as a Hospital Management Consultant. I was the Director for Planning and Management System at Mercy Hospital, a 500 bed hospital in Miami, FL. I was the Vice President of the South Florida Hospital Association, a consortium of 43 hospital located in Date, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe Counties, serving 50% of Florida’s population.

So with the above pedigree I open this blog thread with the intention of encouraging all casual readers and fervent followers (do you exist?) to comment and voice your opinions. Obvious from the heading of this posting … we are participating in a dialogue about what we see is the state of our current health system. If it’s sick, then how do we treat it? Moreover, can we cure it? Lastly, and extremely important, who does the curing and how will the patient, our health system, pay for its treatments?

I’ll start the discussion on a topic that will provide a foundation for all points of discussion, opinions and pompous prognostications. So here goes…

Is the consumption of health care an “unalienable right” or is it a “welfare right?” The former being described in our Declaration of Independence as endowed by our Creator. The latter form of “rights” is merely a claim for legal entitlement attached to individual interests and preferences. In other words “rights” that requires someone else to provide for what an individual may want.

These welfare rights are imposed obligations, contrary to the intent of our Constitution, where people assume risks and obligation via contracts. This sets a dangerous precedence, where the notion of rights as entitlement combined with public property and money leads to political and social conflicts.

Ask yourself this question… should my property, in the form of taxes or otherwise, be taken from me involuntarily to deliver health care to others that choose to behave badly, say smoking cigarettes or taking controlled substances? We can take this quandary one step further. Am I responsible for the genetic misfortunes of others? What about a personal preference to be in harms way? A federally funded health system would have you and me pay for Evil Knievel’s hospital bills.

… your turn.

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