Van Til and Obama Care

Van Til’s take on the splitness of all issues once God is taken out of the equation, fits Obama Care quite nicely.

After WWII, in order to entice people into taking, and sticking with a job, “benefits” began to be offered. The plum benefit was medical insurance. Prior to this, there certainly was Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and other private medical insurance, but many people did not have it, and medical costs were “out of pocket,” and very affordable. We have one lady chaplain here at the hospital whose father was a doctor, and she remembers in the early 60s when he would do a house call for $12 a call. Now, unbelievable.

Jobs began offering medical insurance as a benefit. This meant (unavoidably) that going to the doctor was now, “free.” After all, it cost employers very, very little to give such a benefit to employees and their families. But, it changed the mindset. Now, I run to the doctor for most anything, and much more often.

It also changed the economics. Doctors were no longer pricing their services to individuals whose capacity to pay or not was very important. Supply and demand began to be tinkered with. Now, doctors were dealing with big, rich corporations, whose capacity to pay was far more certain than individuals were in the past. They could now afford to charge more for services, and this was inevitable since demand was rising, and ability to pay was seemingly unlimited.

At first, this was merely a hole in the dam. But holes have a way of getting bigger. The split between services and payment for services began to increase. In fact, they began to splinter apart a previously nicely unified great oak tree. The connection between services offered and payment for those services began to be distorted. Schizophrenia began to set in.

Medical services were increasingly viewed as being “free,” and to doctors, medical payment was also being changed into “a free lunch.” But, the “free lunch” was getting more and more expensive, because demand had artifically increased dramatically, and was also far less efficiently applied. And, since it was now “free” and therefore a “right” and a “benefit,” it also increases the sense of resentment when “my rights” are trampled on. So, increasingly lawyers got to jump on the band wagon, or the gravy train, and cash in their chips. This also added a whole lot to the expense of “free” healthcare.

One can also see increasing distortion in the previously very personal doctor patient relationship. More and more, the gigantic insurance conglomerates become the controlling agent in the background.

Finally, the split is dramatic and huge. On the one hand, medical care is “free,” on the other, costs have become almost apocalyptic. It still works reasonably well if you have medical insurance, but now, it is routinely paid for by employers and private parties can almost not afford it. So large numbers of people are now left without coverage. So of course at this point, it is ripe for the state to step in to “solve” the problem. But by now, what was “almost” apocalyptic has become indeed apocalyptic, and we are viewing something that could literally be civilization ending (if America becomes Greece, civilization as we know it will not survive). The universal sense of entitlement and right is nearly complete, and at the same time, costs are approaching what looks like infinity. Obama Care, which has already doubled in price from what was originally promised, might be able to perform the miracle of nearly infinite cost.

So, it is now totally free and at the same time threatening infinite expense. It is also going to be a lot less personal. If you don’t like the care you will be offered, you can write your Senator. And remember, you cannot sue the Federal government. (so much for the carefully groomed sense of right and resentment of the last 50 or 60 years). But the lawyers will not go hungry. They will have more work than ever.

Here is one last issue that needs to be looked at. Is it not possible that medical expenses have risen so much because so much greater technical training and equipment are involved? Indeed, working in a modern hospital, I see everyday the technical wonders at work. Owning and operating this equipment cannot be cheap. Could this increase costs, even dramatically?

But, in every other area of life, increased technical power causes costs to drop, not to increase. If this were so, a modern I-Phone or typical desk top computer should cost millions of dollars. As a friend pointed out one day, the apps we have on our typical smart phone, at original cost, would approximate nine hundred thousand dollars. Instead, with advance, they are free.

Should medicine not be cheaper today than in 1955?

The Beast loves it. It is a recipe for almost endless meat and morsels for Hell.

Van Til was right…



  1. Screwtape said

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator, a $12 house call in 1962 would cost $91 in 2012 dollars.

  2. Rich,
    socialization of medicine has been occurring for quite some time now on the microeconomic scale, HMO’s are but one example. As a physician, I must point a error in your premise for escalating healthcare costs. It is in not driven by physician greed as you suggest when you write, “doctors…could now afford to charge more for services, and this was inevitable since demand was rising, and ability to pay was seemingly unlimited.” Your obvious assumption is that medical providers set the prices. This simply is not so. This was the case several decades ago, but not any time in recent memory. Insurance companies set the fee schedule and providers can charge what they want but contractual adjustments limit payments to the “allowable” amounts. And these allowables decrease every year. Year after year physician reimbursement diminishes yet healthcare cost increase. If you were correct, this wouldn’t be the case.

    • Rich Bledsoe said

      But, was it the case in say, 1961, when it was just a small hole in the dike? I know it has not been for a long time, and initially I would not term it “greed.” It would simply have been a response to increased demand.
      Thanks for your interaction.


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