“It’s About Bloody Time” To Cut Excessive Government Regulation

GregNormanGreg Norman may have retired from the PGA Tour in 2009, but he hit a hole in one recently when asked about Donald Trump’s efforts to cut government red tape.

During an appearance on Fox News, co-host Steve Doocy asked the Australian entrepreneur whose business ventures in the US include golf apparel, wine, restaurants and water parks: “What do you make of President Trump fulfilling campaign promises to roll back regulations to make it easier for guys like you in business to do business?”

“It’s about bloody time!” replied the Shark without hesitation.

Leave it to a straight-talking Aussie to tell Americans just how overdue we are for an overhaul of our bloated bureaucracy.

While many Americans have accepted an ever-expanding government as such an ordinary part of our lives that watching Congress pass more regulation is as predictable as watching the azaleas bloom in April at Augusta, others like Norman who are out there taking risks and creating jobs believe it’s time to prune back regulation.

To understand Norman’s passion on this issue, it’s important to understand just how burdensome the regulatory system in the United States has become. Only when we can comprehend the true cost of complying with government regulations can we fully understand why reform is needed so desperately today.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute estimates that the total cost of complying with all the federal regulations each year is a whopping $1.8 trillion. To put that into perspective, complying with regulations costs more than all the money the federal government collects from individual ($1.4 trillion) and corporate ($341 billion) income taxes combined.

And, if your big-government Facebook friends need more evidence that bureaucratic red tape has gotten too out of hand, there’s this: when you look at the value of all the goods and services produced by every country around the world, only eight countries have a GDP that exceeds the cost of regulation in the United States.

That’s right. If US regulation was a country, it would be the ninth largest country in the world!

It costs more for businesses, charities, associations and everyone else in the US to comply with federal regulations than the value of everything created in Canada (GDP of $1.78 trillion) in one year. Australia has a very respectable GDP of $1.45 trillion per year, too, but our regulatory burden looks like a whale compared the total economic output of the Shark’s native country.

When we understand the true cost of excessive government regulation, we can also begin to see it’s not just businesses that see this as a major issue but that teachers, doctors and many others want relief, too.

A national survey of public school teachers found that the percentage of teachers who perceive they have low autonomy in the classroom rose by a whopping 44% in a recent eight-year period. Teachers have less autonomy these days because of a myriad of new government regulations aimed at increasing student test scores and making schools more accountable.

Of course, everyone wants to raise student performance, but some experts believe that by placing too many regulations on teachers, government is choking their ability to be creative. A little less red tape governing how classrooms run could help schools retain the best teachers and attract new ones to the profession.

And doctors? When 14,000 medical doctors from a wide variety of specialties were surveyed to identify their levels of professional happiness, more than half of them said they feel burned out in their job. That’s a 25% increase from just four years ago. The main reason they feel burned out is that they have too many bureaucratic tasks.

When our physicians start listing bureaucratic burnout as their number one reason for being unhappy, that’s especially troubling. Doctors with a reduced feeling of well-being and satisfaction can have lower concentration, and that can lead to problems making the right diagnosis and other medical errors.

It’s time to cut the red tape. But if you won’t listen to me, listen to former President Bill Clinton’s golf buddy, Greg Norman. It’s about bloody time.

Fear, Not Facts, Too Often Guides Medicine

Doctor with noteDuring the busy holiday season, the last thing anyone wants to have to do is take time to visit a doctor’s office when they’re sick. However, if it becomes necessary, and you find yourself sitting in a waiting room thinking about all of the other things you have to do, be thankful there’s not one more thing you’re thinking about: being sued.

Why? Because that’s often what the doctor you’re about to see is thinking about. Or, at least, it’s one more thing in the back of her mind dictating many of the decisions she will make throughout the day. And it’s having a major impact on medicine in America today.

That’s what many physicians will tell you if you can get them to talk about practicing medicine in the most litigious society on earth. Recently, a cardiologist who also teaches at one of the top medical schools in the country took time to write about this troubling reality.

According to Dr. Kevin R. Campbell, a clinician educator and assistant professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the type of medicine you receive is too often being dictated by fear rather than facts because doctors often find themselves looking over their shoulder for the next lawsuit.

In a recent op-ed, he points out that:

“Defensive medicine, defined as medical decision-making and care provided solely for the purpose of avoiding malpractice litigation, accounts for a significant proportion of healthcare costs today. While striving to provide excellent care for their patients, physicians are faced with the harsh realities of our litigious society.”

In medical school, he says, physicians are taught to think like Sherlock Holmes. When a patient presents with a set of symptoms and physical findings, doctors develop a differential diagnosis (a list of possible causes) and then work to eliminate possibilities through logic and objective data. When defensive medicine is practiced, however, “this entire system is disturbed because physicians are not being led by logic and objective data. Instead, they are trying to avoid a malpractice claim.”

Practicing medicine isn’t like this for physicians everywhere, however. It’s certainly not like this in Europe. According to a 2011 survey by one of the leading survey research companies in the U.S., RAND, 99% of American physicians in high-risk specialties will face a lawsuit at least once in their careers while in Europe, that number is only 20%. Here, being sued is virtually a given. There, if you’re sued, you’re in a small minority of doctors.

Maybe that’s why the highly respected British Medical Journal decided to publish a study conducted in the United States that looks at the relationship between physician spending and risk for malpractice claims. As doctor Campbell reveals, after “hospital data for more than 24,000 physicians were sampled; the researchers found that the higher the resource use, the lower the risk for malpractice claims. In a nutshell, that means doctors who ordered more tests were significantly less likely to be sued for malpractice.”

There’s no evidence that doctors in the US are any worse than doctors in Europe. It’s our legal system that allows this. And when doctors are put in the position of having to order more tests to cover themselves in case they’re sued, the cost of health care we all pay soars.

The head of one of our nation’s largest medical schools once told me that the most expensive tool a physician uses today is not something big, like an X-ray machine, a CT scanner or a surgical robot. Rather, it’s something very simple. It’s the pen he or she uses to order tests that aren’t necessary.

Originally published on EpicTimes.com