Tag Archive for 'single payer system'

Dangers of changing the health care reform pronouns

In his 1973 book, “Winning Through Intimidation,” Robert Ringer wrote that when he was negotiating with another party who brought an attorney along, the attorney would typically begin by saying, “He (the client) wants …” this or that. Later, Ringer said, the attorney would change the pronoun to, “We want …” When the attorney’s pronoun inevitably changed to “I want … ,” Ringer said he would get up and walk about of the room because he knew the negotiation focus had shifted from the deal to the ego of the attorney.

Alas, there has been a pronoun shift in the health care reform debate that should be pointed out.

“He (Americans) wants …”
In the beginning, most people on both sides of the debate agreed that something should be done to improve the way we deliver and pay for health care. Initially, the debate was over how to accomplish that Herculean task, and it sounded like, “He wants …”

“We want …”
Even though Democrats control the Legislative and Executive Branches, there is a heated debate within the party about health care reform. So when you blend this internal debate with the political prudence of passing legislation that includes Republican votes, then stir in the arbitrary time pressure President Obama and the Democrat leadership have placed on this process, the result is a political contest with so many different players and rules that the average person watching can’t possibly score this game at home. This is where the debate sounds like the attorney is saying, “We want …”

“I want …”
In all of this convolution, there is one thing that is becoming clear to regular folks: Those in the “damn the political torpedoes, full speed ahead” camp are looking like their objective has evolved from health care reform for its own sake to health care reform purely for the sake of politics, as in, “I want …”

No one is naive enough to believe that any health care reform won’t be political, but when we’re talking about a topic that involves 17% of the U.S. economy and has few peers in terms of the personal impact on every American, shouldn’t we expect the final reform product to actually be focused more on lasting solutions than on accomplishing a political victory?

Watching this embarrassing mayhem has led me to want no health care reform legislation at all right now. Any bill produced in the current process will be flawed policy that will surely create more harm than good. The reform process should be scrapped completely until the debate addresses societal and market realities of the 21st century, rather than be the victim of political dysfunction.

It’s time for Americans to tell Congressional delegates to walk away from this negotiation until the correct pronouns are being used.

Recently, on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked about the problems with the current state of health care reform. Also on my show this week, I discussed health care reform with Grace-Marie Turner, President of the Galen Institute. Take a few minutes to listen to these thoughts on this important topic and, as always, be sure to leave your thoughts.

Health care reform that makes sense for small business

The health care reform debate is experiencing a significant increase in volume and vociferousness, including increased momentum toward a government take-over of the U.S. health care system. The two most often cited issues by proponents of health care reform are: 1) runaway costs, not only in delivery of care but also insurance; and 2) the millions of uninsured Americans.

There is nothing inaccurate about either of these debate points. For almost a decade, insurance costs have averaged double-digit increases every year. And there are somewhere between 40 - 50 million people living in the United States without health care insurance. Let’s break these points down and uncover alternative solutions to a government take-over of our health care system and one sixth of our economy.

Issue 1: Dealing with the cost
State mandates: The cost of health care insurance is inflated in many states by mandates for various medical procedures that should be optional but are required elements of a basic policy. What if your automobile budget restricted you to buying a car that provides only basic transportation, without fancy accessories, but the state you live in only allows “tricked out” cars to be sold? You now have a personal transportation crisis since you can’t afford to buy the car you need. Mandates, by state or federal governments, are not the answer to lowering health care costs.

Association health plans: Unlike big businesses and unions, small businesses cannot purchase health care insurance across state lines, thereby limiting access to the group discounts available to national organizations they may belong to. Allowing small businesses to buy health care insurance through chambers of commerce or trade groups would lower costs and allow more companies to provide insurance for their employees.

Health savings accounts: Essentially, these are IRAs for health care. You purchase a major medical policy with a high deductible, which is covered by annual investments up to that deductible amount into a tax-deferred account (like an IRA). Over time, any of the investment you don’t use for health care still belongs to you and you can even pass it on to your heirs. HSAs train people to become health care consumers instead of just patients.

Issue 2: Millions of uninsured
Illegal immigrants: Part of this number includes 12-20 million illegal immigrants. Whatever we decide to do about providing care for these people, our health care system should not be hijacked by including these numbers in the argument.

Young Americans: Recent research conducted by the state of Massachusetts showed that young people – who believe they are bullet-proof and will live forever –refuse to buy insurance even when they can afford it. A high percentage of America’s uninsured fit this profile and should not be included as reform evidence.

All the rest: The rest of the uninsured are Americans who truly can’t afford insurance. But we already have plenty of government programs to cover them. Even if we want to do more for this group, we can do that without converting everyone else to a Euro-style universal health care system.

Finally, we already know the government can’t run a health care system - look at Medicare and Medicaid. Both are insolvent, primarily due to government ineptitude, waste and inefficiencies. Small businesses need market solutions for our health care challenges. A single-payer, universal, government-mandated and controlled health care system will not be good for small businesses.

Recently, I talked about this on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, with one of the most important experts on market-based health care solutions, Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute. Grace-Marie is also a long-time member of my Brain Trust. Take a few minutes to listen to what this world-class expert has to say. And, of course, be sure to leave your thoughts.

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