Time for Debate on Health Care

If America is not careful, soon it could see one-seventh of its gross domestic product nationalized — the biggest step toward socialism this country ever has taken.

That’s what will happen if Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton is elected president and the Democrats control the Congress. (Heck, it might even happen if John McCain is elected.)

The consequences of placing the nation’s health care system under the control of the federal government cannot be overstated. It will be a disaster on several fronts:

— Another stake in the heart of the world’s oldest Constitution, which strictly limits the powers of Congress and nowhere suggests it has any authority over matters of health care, in what has been the freest country on the face of the Earth.

— Contrary to popular opinion, "free" health care is actually the most expensive kind — paid for with massively higher taxes and regulations that drive up medical costs exponentially.

— It will cost lives, as patients will be forced to wait as health care is rationed for the first time in America and forgo medical services they would like to have.

None of these observations is new, of course. It all has been said by others many times.
Yet Americans seem hellbent on turning over control of their own health care destiny to the lawyers and politicians in Washington. It’s mystifying.

One of the ways Hillary Clinton and others have convinced Americans of the need to enslave themselves to government health care nannies is by linking insurance (private or taxpayer-supported) to medical access.

They suggest there are 47 million Americans without health care because there are 47 million without some form of insurance. It’s just not true. Hospitals in America don’t turn away indigent patients. In fact, it’s against the law. So it’s accurate to say there are no Americans — even illegal immigrants! — who are without basic medical care.

Another argument they use is that health care costs are going up so rapidly that even more people will be denied insurance and medical care in the future. In this case, the argument is not entirely specious, however, it is more of a self-fulfilling prophecy, as anyone who understands Economics 101 can explain.

The primary reason health care costs are exploding in the U.S. is fewer people actually are paying for it themselves. As insurance and government programs, such as Medicare, take on greater proportions of the costs, the costs go up. There is far less accountability when third parties are paying the bills.

Let me give you an example of how this works. There are some kinds of medical care that are more affordable today than ever before. One example would be LASIK. The price of this eye surgery is not going up, it’s coming down. Do you know why? Principally, because insurance doesn’t cover the procedure — and neither does Medicare. Isn’t that amazing?
When people themselves have to bear the costs of treatments, the price doesn’t go up, it actually comes down!

What’s missing from the political debate about health care are ideas about how to bring down the costs — to make it more affordable. The answer is not nationalizing the industry. The answer is not doing more of the same. The answer is not 100 percent third-party payments. The answer is not  less accountability to the patients.

But that’s what both Hillary and Obama and most of the Democrats in Congress believe is the answer. Too many Americans agree with them because they are just not smart enough to see through the smoke screen.

This is not a plan for better health care; it’s a plan for a power grab by government. When the smoke clears, you won’t have your money or the health care you were promised.

I know there’s little chance anyone will listen to this plea. After all, it is so far removed from what passes as conventional wisdom today. There is a problem in the health care industry. Medical care is getting too expensive. The answer is to take steps that will reduce the cost, not make it more palatable for the industry to charge even higher rates because no one cares about the bills anymore.

It’s tough to fight the tide. But the answer is disengaging government encroachment into health care, rather than having government take over the industry.

Remember where you heard this. Someday you or someone you love will be seeking permission of a government bureaucrat to have a lifesaving procedure. Someday you or someone you love will have to wait for that surgery. Someday you or someone you love may be told: "You’re just not a good candidate for that treatment."

It’s inevitable. This cockamamie social experiment has been tried again and again. The results are always the same. There’s nothing new under the sun. There is no free lunch.
And there is no such thing as free medical care.