So, the other day I was thinking about National Health Care, a rarity as I prefer not to try and figure out the reasoning’s of politicians. It dawned on me that our Congress and the cost of health care have a very common thread; lawyers. As such, we are not likely to get a viable solution to this issue if it is coming from our elected officials.
I think if I took a poll, most people would say that they don’t feel our government represents its constituents well, does a very good job of running itself (there’s another topic vis-a-vis business regulating itself), budgets the taxpayer dollars well, nor is likely to improve anytime soon, if ever. What is the background of a large majority of the members of Congress? Without going through all of their bios, I’ve found estimates that somewhere around 50% have law degrees, with most having practiced law prior to joining Congress. What percent of the population is lawyers? I’ve seen estimates of less than 1 percent to around 6 percent. I’m guessing the former is likely the more accurate estimate. So, are the members of Congress representative of their constituency? Does having a law degree make someone a better politician or better at working the political system? Does having a law degree aid a politician in managing taxpayers’ money or eating it up by writing bills that are more than 2000 pages long? Are lawyers inexpensive? Are politicians expensive?
Let’s move on to health care. Again, if I took a poll asking respondents why they think the cost of health care is so high, I’m guessing I’d hear things like equipment and prescriptions are expensive, but my guess is the number one response would be due to the cost of medical malpractice and the plethora of regulations. Think about it, the cost of many of the things that make up health care is due to concerns around liability. So, is the health care system to blame or is it the regulations (hmmm, who write the laws?) and medical malpractice lawyers’ exorbitant fees? Certainly we need systems in place to protect patients from general ineptitude but I think the main benefactors are those providing malpractice and liability avoidance services. Society in the United States has become much too litigious. Instead of being the good citizen, taking responsibility for our actions and caring for our neighbor, many are bent on what and how much they can get out of the system. Many laws also are on the books to protect those who don’t have common sense nor practice good judgment. And, lawyers are all too eager to help. Just watch television and you will see an abundant number of commercials looking for clients.
Would we be better off if we limited the number of politicians who have law degrees? Maybe there should be quotas around how many lawyers are allowed to be members of Congress, such that we can open up positions for doctors, teachers, construction workers, businessman and many of the other professions that make up the populace. Should we regulate government like they regulate us? How about instead of having the government, largely made up of lawyers, pull our tax dollars to pay for health care, which benefits their brethren medical malpractice buddies, we set caps on medical malpractice lawsuits and the fees that attorneys are allowed to charge? Seems really strange to me that a doctor earns less than a lawyer. Sounds like greed winning out over the value of life.
Not that I don’t try to be an optimist, I really do, but the pragmatist in me doesn’t see our government’s attempt at reforming and managing a health care system as being successful. However, it likely appears that some form of government run health care system is coming. I just wish they’d fund it with the profits the medical malpractice lawyers earn instead of on the fortunate, but already burdened, populace who pays a lot of their hard earned dollars to obtain health care insurance.
So, what do you think? I’m not asking if you think we need health care reform, or that more of the population deserves health care, but do you think the government can really create and manage such a system based upon their prior track record? Do you think reforming medical malpractice might actually be as effective an approach for making health care more affordable to everyone?
About the author
Entrepreneur Jeff Lambert is the President and founder of JVHM, Inc., a software development business located in the San Francisco Bay Area but serving clients around the globe. Jeff's expertise includes website design and development, Facebook development, blogging integration, SEO, video production, CRM systems, database design and development and more. In his "spare" time Jeff likes to hang out with his family, run, play tennis and, until recently, was Scoutmaster with a local Boy Scout troop.