Part Four: Dr. Chartrand on the Recently Passed HealthCare Reform Bill
Posted on: January 24, 2011
Why Survival of the Nation and Its Constitution Depend on Repeal of ObamaCare
Editor’s Note: Freedom First Society commissioned a series of interviews with Dr. Max Stanley Chartrand, who formerly served on the DC-based Healthcare Equity Action League. In this segment, we are interested in his insights into the potential repeal of what is fast becoming the single largest government takeover of private enterprise in the history of the United States.
Q: Hello, Dr. Chartrand, as you know, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010, in total disregard of the will of the people. Why do you feel such an unpopular form of healthcare reform was able to pass in the face of unprecedented public opposition?
A: Well, Paul, what many Americans are beginning to sense is that this horribly convoluted legislation has very little to do with providing equitable healthcare. Rather, it is part of much larger schemata. Certainly, with about 25 million still without coverage under ObamaCare, its passage wasn’t about universal coverage; its passage was about universal government regulation. Every objective proforma on this legislation shows it will run healthcare quality into the ground, while costs continue to rise from 16.5% of current GDP to more than 24% of GDP by the time it takes full effect in 2017.
Instinctively, many people understand that anything requiring illegal bribery, backroom strong-arming, and political threats in an already rabidly liberal Congress cannot possibly be a good thing. The people have made no secret about their steadfast opposition, and yet their elected representatives doggedly ignore their desire to prevent this awful government takeover.
Cap and Trade legislation, as well as the Finance Reform legislation now sitting before Congress, are going the same route: bribery and skullduggery, in an effort to force through economy-crushing bills against the will of the people. The same applies for just about everything the Obama-Pelosi-Reid Triumvirate has pushed down the throats of Americans to date.
Instead, as Americans suffer through the incredible shrinkage of the private sector and explosion of the size of welfare and government, they see that there is a sinister effort to bring the great middle class of this nation to its knees. One little girl recently said, “I can’t wait until I’m old enough for disability.” Thus, dependency is spreading faster than the government can handle it, while freedom is hijacked by a gang of men and women who despise the Constitution and free enterprise and have little respect for the Supreme Being that inspired the largest experiment in freedom in human history. Patient gradualism, the modus operandi of the past to bring this country to its knees, is no longer enough. The people are awakening, and those whose agenda is to erase state rights and the Constitution are getting desperate.
What careful research will bear out is that this has been going on a long time, long before even the Constitution of the United States was pounded out by the Founding Fathers. In uncovering the historical context, it would not take long for an astute researcher to discover, for instance, that Hitler was financed by American and European capitalists who prospered from the blood and war he created, or that busloads and planeloads of demonstrators are regularly paid to disrupt events all over the world. The impoverished men of Al-Qaeda are simply doing the bidding of their paymasters, who may reside in the United States, Great Britain, and Canada as easily as Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Russia. Likewise, Obama and Pelosi and Reid are mere actors in the larger scheme. They all are doing the bidding of the interests that finance them. Americans are caught in the drama, largely unaware that nearly all of it is contrived.
Q: So you think that ObamaCare was not pushed through because of genuine concern over the uninsured and skyrocketing insurance premiums?
A: Let’s take the premise of your question that ObamaCare actually addresses skyrocketing insurance premiums. The real reason premiums of private policies have skyrocketed is becausegovernment third-party payer programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare, underpay the system by at least 41% of actual costs. Someone has to pay the bill, and private payers end up covering the lion’s share of it. The fact that a sizable number of private hospitals are expected to go under as the gut-wrenching power grab of ObamaCare takes hold will be another area where somebody will have to fill the uncompensated gap. Politicians who trumpet “Medicare Reform” are really just taking the expedient route of cost-shifting to the private sector. Nothing substantive is ever done about the real underlying costs of healthcare: dwindling incentives for the consumer to control his cost and to be healthy at the personal level, and a system bogged down in John Edwards’ style litigation, lack of competition across state lines, and cost-shifting from public underpays.
But let’s take the argument on its face that this really is about reducing costs. I mentioned earlier that ObamaCare will cause the cost of healthcare in the United States to soar from its present 16% of GDP to at least 24% by the year 2017. How is that possible? Simply by giving us more of what is already wrong with the system: Someone else paying the bill shields people from the consequences of behavior.
Who, upon being discharged from a weeklong stay in the hospital, bothers to scrutinize their 1,000-page hospital bill? After all, someone else is paying for it. Routinely, we hear seniors tell us that they don’t worry about the skyrocketing cost and overprescribing of medications under Medicare, because “it doesn’t cost me anything.” This scenario applies to a majority of the current broken system. But, under ObamaCare, it will apply to 100%, as there will be nobody left to whom these costs could be shifted. In other words, personal responsibility for one’s health — the main driver for cost under free enterprise — becomes virtually passé under ObamaCare.
Q: What about the MSA model to which you referred in past interviews? How does that stack up against ObamaCare?
A: Like night and day, Paul. Under the Medical Savings Account/Major-Medical model devised by the HEAL Committee back in 1990, the pilot study showed that most people stopped smoking, started exercising, ate healthy, and took better care of themselves. This was because the economic incentives were to get and stay healthy. The healthy were rewarded by not having to spend the deductible portion of the program. The heart of the program is what Obama derisively calls a “Cadillac policy.” But guess what, under the MSA model, the cost is about half what a standard policy costs today. That is fact, and the data is impressive.
ObamaCare is based on a static model that bad health is rarely a consequence of personal lifestyle choices. Therefore, with someone else footing the bill, there will be no reason for the millions of substance abusers, junk food junkies, and those exhibiting high risk behaviors to worry about the costs of those behaviors — that number will surely explode under ObamaCare. As said before, the object of ObamaCare is not cost savings, but instead control over the market. If Obama — himself a heavy smoker — does not care about the MSA vs. ObamaCare data, will he care about whether Americans have incentives of personal responsibility over their own health? Obviously not.
Q: But don’t insurance and corporate executives and their boards know this? Where were they while politicians blandly repeated the mantra about needing reform because of private care inflation?
A: That is a good question: Where were they? Well, some did protest vehemently, and then slinked off into silence as regulators and legislators threatened them, and then waved the false image of a huge new market that can be theirs if they play nice. The skullduggery Americans saw out in the open on Fox News, for instance, was child’s play compared to the strong-arming and wimpy caving in that occurred off camera. The same happened to corporate interests, who, after being cajoled and ridiculed before the public, were given false images of someone else paying their humongous employee healthcare bills. The executives would only suffer a bit of a nuisance with the “Cadillac policy” tax, while their employees were to be treated like welfare recipients under the new system of government care.
Q: What is happening on the movement to repeal ObamaCare, and what do you think the chances are that it can be repealed?
A: I am asked this all the time nowadays. But usually the question is prefaced with the opinion that ObamaCare cannot be repealed. But as sure as I stand here, I know it can and must be. If we care about the state of the nation, the economy, our families’ wellbeing, our freedom, the Constitution (the only thing standing between freedom and despotism), we must repeal. In my last interview with you, you might recall that I was among some others who called on the state governors to step forward and block this illegal usurpation of power. To date, more than 20 states have filed lawsuits with the Department of Justice and/or passed legislation to prevent ObamaCare from pre-empting state laws and regulations. This is progress, but it will not be nearly enough.
Immediately following the passing of the bill, a number of politicians postured over repeal, but it is the citizens that oppose ObamaCare that will make it happen. For that reason, they must be informed, especially within the framework of the Constitution. A good place to start is for your readers to turn to the “Say ‘No’ to Socialized Medicine” campaign page at the www.freedomfirstsociety.org website.
Without an informed and determined electorate — if past is prologue — we will see a bipartisan sellout at the last minute, and those who “represent” us will once again give up one final chance to restore states’ rights, bring true reform to the politician-created healthcare mess, and protect our nation’s economic freedom.
This November, we should settle for no less than men and women who will vote according to the Constitution. Then, after the election, regardless of party label, we must hold their feet to the fire of that sacred document, for it is the only thing standing between tyranny and us.
Moreover, I would that it will someday be said of the struggle over ObamaCare, as it was once said by the enemy’s general about Americans’ response after the attack on Pearl Harbor, “I think we awakened a sleeping giant.”
Dr. Chartrand serves as professor of behavioral medicine and is a widely published author and health researcher. He is also a Constitutional conservative who advocates workable, free-market solutions to the current problems within the U.S. healthcare system.