Here's a great idea: Let's put the hospitals out of business!
The world's turned upside down. The socially unhealthy practices and behaviors we once discouraged, stigmatized, or outlawed are now being legalized, accepted, and embraced. The age-old wisdom of traditions and taboos has been discarded. When healthy practices were still in the ascendant, we were told that we must have choices and that unhealthy choices were equivalent to healthy ones, if not superior. Now that unhealthy choices have become widely accepted, choice is no longer trumpeted. Instead, we're told that the healthy choices are not really necessary anymore and that we'd be better off without them. Remember when private enterprise, limited government, freedom of religion, patriotism, and family values were celebrated? For years, we've been conditioned to believe that there's something wrong with these foundational principles, and the pride that many Americans once invested in each has devolved into disdain. The medical profession is now going through this inversion process as doctors and hospitals once lauded for their devotion to their patients and to the public good are progressively demonized. Our private health care system worked quite well in the recent past. The extraordinary contributions that hospitals made to society were recognized by government and encouraged with property tax exemptions and other considerations. But our increasingly autocratic state and federal governments seem determined to put our hospitals out of business with excessive regulation and increased taxation. Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) worries that an Illinois Supreme Court decision depriving a central Illinois hospital of its property tax exemption could eventually be extended to all of the state's hospitals. Kay notes that Illinois hospitals serving the poor are already struggling with low -- and slow -- Medicaid reimbursement rates. "Some of them have to borrow money to keep operating," he laments. "With the loss of tax exemption, they would have to consider even whether to stay in business." If you're planning to seek medical attention anytime soon, you'd better do it now while we still have hospitals.