There seems to be no stopping the government’s plan to begin the incremental takeover and ultimately control of America’s health care system. The most likely bill seems to be the one being written by Senator Max Baucus, (D-Montana), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which would result in a sweeping overhaul of an industry that is one-sixth of the U.S. economy.
But instead of health care reform for its own sake, meaning that the issues that need fixing are addressed and logical adjustments are put in place, what we now have is health care reform for the sake of politics. If you think this is an overstatement, consider this: Currently over 550 amendments have been proposed to the Baucus bill. This ridiculous number of amendments, plus the fact that there is an arbitrary push to get a bill signed into law this year, is proof that this effort is all about politics and has very little to do with quality reform.
America has a filet mignon health care system that is not perfect and could use some fixing. But please explain why we would let this sausage factory we call Congress get control of a $2.5 trillion industry that, unlike any other industry, touches the most intimate aspects of the lives of every American. Why would we allow the same people who have managed Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the U.S. Postal Service into de facto bankruptcy to take over our health care system? And shouldn’t the horror we’ve seen with the mismanagement of VA hospitals give us great pause before we hand over our health care system to the government?
You would be correct to point out that the current proposals aren’t about an immediate takeover of the U.S. health care system. But anyone who thinks this isn’t the ultimate plan is living in a fantasy world. Once this bill is passed, the socialized medicine, single-payer system camel will have its nose under the free-market economy tent and it will just be a matter of time before this stinking dromedary will be wreaking havoc in America’s living rooms.
There are many ways the marketplace and government can work together to accomplish true reform, not the least of which would be tort reform, but here is just one:
Take away the employer deduction for employee health insurance expense and replace it with tax credits given to every American to shop around and buy their own health care insurance, the same way we shop for, and buy, everything else. If you, or your employer, want you to have a better plan, you can pay for that with after-tax dollars. With this plan, a federal law would also be needed to allow individuals to buy insurance across state lines, thus avoiding the various state insurance mandates
This simple reform would solve many problems, including but not limited to:
- create a more efficient insurance system
- create more competition – real market-based competition
- create more innovation, both in insurance and health care products and services
- create more marketplace jobs and fewer government jobs
- eliminate an employee being held hostage to a job because of insurance benefits
- eliminate the “pre-existing medical condition” problem
- Americans would become health care consumers, instead of just co-paying patients.
All of these elements would be good for small businesses, but especially because they would help level the benefits playing field in competing for workers.
Perhaps the greatest flaw of this health care reform idea is that it’s simple and would actually work in real life – a concept seemingly foreign to members of the political class.
As always, looking forward to your comments.