Archive for July, 2013

17
Jul
13

Free Times Newspaper Using Absurd Scare Tactics In An Attempt to Limit Competition in SC’s Healthcare Industry

In the July 17-23, 2013 issue of Free Times (Columbia, SC), writer Corey Hutchins asks: “If there was an MRI scanner next to the cricket cage in the back of Skeebo’s bait shop—and it was closer or cheaper than one at your local hospital—would you trust your life to the guy selling nightcrawlers to find out if your chronic headaches might be cancer?

“Weird question.”

Yes, weird question.

The tactic, employed by Corey Hutchins, is called “Reductio ad Ridiculum”: The logical fallacy of extending someone’s argument to ridiculous proportions and then criticizing the result.

You see, Free Times is attempting to scare you, and SC lawmakers, into continuing support for a permitting process known as “Certificate of Need” (CON). Governor Nikki Haley vetoed the $800,000 funding for the agency, and now certain special interests are attempting to scare the public into pushing for a reversal.

When hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities want to add new medical services, build or purchase new medical equipment, they must demonstrate a “need” to a South Carolina regulatory agency. The agency then determines whether or not the organization will be allowed to have it.

<sarcasm>Yay, freedom!</sarcasm>

Corey Hutchins says that such regulation is “supposed to keep costs in check.”

On that point, he is correct—but those prices are kept “in check” at a high price, due to limits on competition and the inability to purchase high-dollar equipment for business expansion (economic stimulus, job creation, etc.).

Let’s call CON by its real name: Protectionism. The healthcare lobby is one of the strongest voices in the halls of government, and CON is used by many of those voices to try to limit competition and protect the profits of well-established medical firms—and that means higher costs, for YOU.

So what if “Skeebo” wanted to buy an MRI machine?

First of all, I doubt a corner “bait shop” would have the money to purchase a mega-bucks MRI scanner—and part of the reason why they cost so much is because government limits how many can be purchased, and by whom. Again, those costs are passed along to YOU, the patient, in the form of higher procedure costs and insurance premiums.

Second, if “Skeebo” did purchase an MRI scanner, got training to “certify” his expertise with the device, offered shorter waiting room times, charged less, was more conveniently located, and gave a more personalized level of service and care, why wouldn’t I choose “Skeebo” over the high-priced medical facility that was located several miles away?

That’s exactly why they are being limited. Like I said, protectionism.

Corey Hutchins basically says that anything other than tight control of your healthcare options is throwing the industry into “chaos.”

Governor Haley said, “The Certificate of Need program does three things: restricts access, drives down quality and drives up costs”—and she’s absolutely right.

Apparently, “my body, my choice” only applies to abortion. Everything else having to do with my body must be regulated, limited, controlled, taxed, permitted, licensed and manipulated.

So, Free Times, will you promote choice in everything concerning my body, or will hypocrisy rule the day?