Yesterday, the Senate started discussions on Health Care (Reform?). Let’s just step back from the moral and political arguments for a couple of minutes, and think about this.
I just do not understand how 2,000+ pages of Federal legislation is going to make health care insurance more affordable to the common person, especially if the Federal Government is going to administer the program. As we all know from past experience, anything that the Federal Government does is usually over budget by millions if not billions, and moves forward at slower than a snail’s pace.
While I understand that there is a moral obligation to provide help to those less fortunate, no where in the Constitution is the provision that this is the responsibility of the Federal Government. That responsibility can be assigned to the States with the approval of the State’s citizens.
But I still have a problem with the politicians spending Billions of taxpayer dollars to cover an additional estimated 10% of the population with healthcare insurance while cutting Medicaid / Medicare by $500 million and promising to reduce waste in the system! Personally, if you don’t root out the waste and corruption up front, those same behaviors will only increase under any additional or replacement program. And how to pay for that extra 10% is still up in the air, but will fall to the taxpayers – there isn’t a free lunch or healthcare – someone will pay for it one way or another.
Another complaint that I have is that while our politicians apparent goal is to put everyone into this system, they will be exempt from the program (I’m leaving Unions out of this for the moment). Instead, they will have their own taxpayer funded plan which exceeds what they are proposing, although the details on exactly what coverage is to be provided to the general population is conspicuously absent from the legislation, but leaves the details up to the Secretary of Health & Human Services.
And therein lies part of the problem that I see with a government controlled health care system, reformed or not. When we look at the European and Canadian models for healthcare, we hear horror stories of people being denied care due to the cost of life-saving procedures or their names not coming up in a lottery. Of course, we are being reassured that our system will not resort to such drastic measures for cost savings, but that is now. What of the future? If the details are up to one person or entity, without competition, then what checks and balances will there be to keep such events from happening? None, and here’s why.
We Americans make a big deal out of being able to elect whomever we want to offices. However, once a system like a healthcare system is in place, it will be extremely hard to change, unlike the politicians we elect to office. That is the way bureaucracies work – quick to expand, slow to change. And if what we expect to happen, i.e., most citizens on a public plan, then we will be backed into a corner with nowhere to go.
I have written enough posts over the past year or so concerning my opposition to the current legislation concerning health care reform. But perhaps the best argument against government controlling more of the health insurance industry than they already do is summed up by this statement made at a townhall:
"I look at this health care plan and I see nothing that is about health or about care. What I see is a bureaucratic nightmare, Senator. Medicaid is broke, Medicare is broke, Social Security is broke and you want us to believe that a government that can’t even run a cash for clunkers program is going to run one-seventh of our U.S. economy? No sir, no!”
Last, but not least, are the politics of this legislation, which are, at best, distasteful. We have seen legislation and votes passed in the wee hours of the night, during weekends, and holidays after little or no debate. There is something unethical and unseemly about the backroom deal-making that our politicians engage in. After all, if the legislation is truly for the people and not for the politicians, such actions would not be necessary, and everything would be out in the open for everyone to see. And even then, this legislation probably will not do what it is intended to do with the cost that it is estimated.
No, my friends, this is not the role that our government is to take on, either from a moral or legal standpoint. However, I fully expect that our politicians, in their elitist haughtiness, will pass some form of legislation shackling us to this idealistic dream that has crippled other countries. And this is despite the protests of the people against such legislation.
Our recourse is to let our respective Senators know repeatedly that to pass this legislation will not be to the benefit of the country, and will not garner our support in the next election.