Yes, I think healthcare reform needs to happen. But it better do two things: 

1) Actually improve and expand healthcare 

2) Not break the back of the economy 

This is the true moral imperative. 

Upon a cursory read of certain portions of proposed legislation (HR 3200), I have made some simple observations. By the way, you can read the legislation here: If you do, you will have one up on your Representatives. For some reason, they don’t think they have to read the Bills they vote on, even though they sign an affidavit stating they have. Here’s what I’ve noticed:

  1. Our Representatives will be exempt from this legislation. In other words, they won’t be subject to what they want to subject us to. How can this nation stand if our Representatives vote for things that they don’t have to abide by? (And by the way, they do it all the time.) This is like old-style monarchy, and we are the peasants.
  2. A public option will drive out the private market. Why? Because by law the government can pay up to 30% less than its private competitors. In fact, this is one of the reason healthcare is so expensive now. Because doctors and hospitals have to make up the cost for the low reimbursement rates of current Medicare and Medicaid patients. No one can compete with that. In any other context, these practices would be considered illegal or monopolistic. But because it is gov’t, it’s A-OKAY. This will actually decrease the standard of health care in the long run as competition unavoidably lessens. This will lead to the socialization of healthcare. Now there are rumors of the public option being removed from the legislation. I don’t believe. Provisions for it will be tucked away in there somehow hidden with fancy and confusing legal jargon. Besides, there are about five versions of this Bill floating around. And the final versions on Bills are never read anymore. So how would anyone really know?
  3. Federal funds will go to cover abortions. You may say it won’t, that abortion isn’t even in the Bill. But laws and legislation are based on precedent and the precedent has already been set. Since abortion is legal, it will be considered a simple medical procedure in the context of this Bill and will be covered.
  4. In the end, bureaucrats in Washington (not you, me, or our doctors) will oversee and decide on health care costs, coverage, and procedures. 
  5. This will be the biggest social program in history because of the size of the US. We are given promises that this will be revenue neutral, but there is actually no plan in place to back that statement up. We are told that funding will be figured out after the fact. This is obviously a gross misstatement. It will break the bank. In fact, the health system will eventually become the biggest employer in the world by some projections. Nothing that size that doesn’t answer to anyone (accountability), have to perform well (competition), or be sustainable (pay for itself) can be effective or efficient. Is there anything you can think of that the government has taken over that has become cheaper or better?
  6. The government will have access to all your tax records to assess what your cost for care should be. And if you don’t like it, they will have access to your bank account so they can deduct it directly. Yes, that is in the legislation too. Want to do rock-climbing on the weekends? Well, you’ll pay a little more for your healthcare. Are you a roofer by trade? That will cost you more. Drink Coke and eat chips? Pay up. Drive an SUV o
    r have a house that is too big? That will cost you since you’re ‘hurting the planet.’ It can happen.
  7. This will NOT be FREE. That may be the biggest distortion of all.

I don’t believe this legislation will or can accomplish the goals it purports too. It is a logistical impossibility. That’s what makes me so suspicious. It’s more like radicalization of the healthcare. If you think about it, under the auspices of health reform the gov’t will have access and control of every aspect of your life (in one fell swoop). This is politics as usual and I think citizens are waking up to it. The President’s approval numbers consistently trending down might be evidence of this. 

The argument is often made that no one should die because they don’t have coverage. Not sure I get that one. Anyone is able to get care in the ER by law already. The argument is also made that no one should go broke because of medical expenses. Some simple changes in the system could be made to alleviate that (more on that in a moment). But let’s be clear, HR 3200 will not increase coverage or access. And it sure won’t cover experimental procedures.

As a result of the debate here in America, some recent information has come to light about healthcare in other countries with gov’t run programs. There’s a ton more information that could be uncovered too, if the media wasn’t so biased.

Did you know?

  1. 4,000 babies were born in toilets, elevators, and halls in the UK because there weren’t enough beds.
  2. Also in the UK, a recent investigation has revealed more than 1,000,000 cases of cruel and regretful care. Keep in mind the population is 60 million.
  3. In addition, the UK is telling doctors to help their suspected terminally ill patients to die sooner to save costs.
  4. In France health care is being rationed because the price is crippling.

But enough with the problems. Let’s talk about some ideas that would bring true reform. These ideas would bring down healthcare costs, increase the quality of it, and not strain the economy beyond the point of no return:

  1. Equalize the tax laws so that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits.
  2. Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs).
  3. Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines.
  4. Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover.
  5. Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
  6. Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost.
  7. Revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

You can read these ideas in more detail here. They aren’t mine, but I believe they would work immediately. Of course, they’ll probably never happen because these ideas put the power in the hands of the individual citizens, rather than the large vacuous unaccountable government.

Everything, in regard to my political leanings, stems from my belief in limited government. It’s strange to me. We as Americans know that the early settlers battled circumstances and hardships to come to this land to flee the heavy hand of large and oppressive government. They wanted to live free and pursue opportunity—to create their own destiny, you might say. 

For some reason, today we are willing to vote in (and for) leaders with philosophies (both Democrats and Republicans) that openly and proudly tout large and authoritarian views of government, all the while professing a sense of morality and principle. Unfortunately, these two ideas are mutually exclusive historically. People are never truly free while living under big government. The current world community also proves this. Big, strong, centralized government is hardly ever principled or moral because it is unaccountable and greedy by nature. 

Big government ideas are always framed in the context of being ‘helpful’. This is dangerous. Historically, people always let liberty die, all the while applauding and cheering the very things that bring its demise. Too many times citizens have been willful, or at least ignorant, accomplices to liberty fading. 

I mean, think of going to the DMV, Post Office, or to the city to pull a permit. Not a pleasant experience. Now imagine this in respect to your medical needs. No thanks!

Do I believe in unity and building bridges with people who aren’t like me or believe what I believe?

Of course! 

I really want to see healthcare reform in this country, but not at the expense of quality, reasonable costs, and the economy. Everyone will suffer in this context. Take it from the son of a Swede, socializing healthcare will fundamentally change this country. And it won’t be for the better.

That’s my moral imperative.

*UPDATE: The President is scheduled to give a speech on healthcare this Wednesday to clarify his plan. Still, I suspect it will mostly be anecdotal, if not entirely. Either way, I look forward to hearing it.