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The description later of the proliferation of “fee-maximizing advisers and seminars” fits education. In our case most are subsidized with tax dollars. Education also has its “evidence based, cookie cutter” mandates. They’re known as “standards and benchmarks, state mandated core curriculum, standardized testing.” Teachers also face hours of adapting to computer-based record keeping and tracking “data” that we suspect is mostly used by no one. Decisions about what it means to be educated are made by those as far away from the individual student as possible. It’s madness.
I worry that the new generation of teachers are nothing more than assembly-line workers plodding through state and federal mandates. I worry that my grandchildren will be treated to a mediocre government education—and unless they have the cash, a mediocre health care system as well.
Rockwell City, IA
I found Jeffrey Singer’s piece, “How Government Killed the Medical Profession,” to be an enlightening, perceptive, and important article on how government interference is destroying medical care.
I retired at age 52, and from that age until I turned 65 I carried no medical insurance. Luckily, I’ve been in relatively good health, but when I did need medical care, I paid cash, made it clear to the various doctors I visited that I intended to pay cash, and frequently was able to negotiate fairly good prices for the services I needed. The best part was that I felt in total control of my own care—with input from physicians, I decided on what care and procedures I wanted or didn’t want. I took great pleasure in taking full responsibility for my own health care.
Last year, at age 65, I got my Medicare card. Recently I decided to exercise that card for the first time. I checked into the emergency room of a local hospital. What followed was 24 hours of the most impersonal, overbearing treatment I’ve ever been subjected to. They checked me into the hospital; they would not let me go home in the evening, maintaining that they were “required” to keep me overnight and monitor me continuously. They administered pills and injections without explaining what the drugs were or what their purposes were. They ran a number of expensive tests without asking me for permission or approval, and certainly without talking about their cost. My big shock came when the final bill arrived. The total for everything was over $20,000. That was shocking enough. But what really opened my eyes was the amount I was expected to pay: $16. My first reaction was to write a note to a close friend and say, “Man, is this system broken.” I hope many people read Singer’s article.
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