Friday, November 27, 2009

Government health care

I've had a problem with the President's argument for compulsory health insurance from the beginning. I do not like his argument that requiring people to buy health insurance is the same as requiring drivers to buy auto liability insurance. I never took the time to organize my thoughts in writing, but this article by George Will nails it.

There's a difference between regulating something that people freely choose to do, versus requiring people to do it. They can make you buy liability insurance or be otherwise financially responsible, to protect other drivers. But they can't make you buy a car! (Or is simply BEING ALIVE now some great privilege that the government is allowed to regulate???)

He also takes on the issue of the so-called "right to privacy". If they can invent such a right to allow abortion, then we can claim the same right to reject government health care. Interesting point... Now, I don't think that is the best strategy. I do believe it is still possible for Roe v. Wade to be overturned, and I wouldn't want to strengthen its precedent by using it to argue against something else. But it is an interesting hypocrisy.

I wish I could find the article now, but I read something awhile back that explained how health insurers have to be licensed to sell policies in individual states. If the rules were loosened so that they could sell across state lines and develop standard forms and rates and guidelines, the prices would go down considerably. But the federal government refuses to allow that, claiming that it is a question of "states' rights" and that they shouldn't interfere... HA! Since when does THIS administration give a damn about states rights? They certainly don't support states' right when it comes to restrictions on abortion or same-sex marriage. I bet you anything Obama will, in his second term if there is such a thing, push hard for the Freedom of Choice Act and for a federal "gay marriage" allowance. And in fact, the constitution actually does give the federal government the right to regulate interstate commerce. Here is one area that they actually have a legitimate authority to intervene, but they refuse to excercise it because doing so would screw up their plans for a federal health care plan. They use the federalist argument only when it suits their own strategery.

They claim they can pay for the new plan by increasing taxes on the very rich (you know, the people who use their money to invest and grow and start companies that give people jobs - another topic for another day), and by "reducing waste, fraud, and abuse" in Medicaid and Medicare. Okay, great, so do that anyway! Go ahead and reduce the waste, fraud, and abuse! Is ANYONE opposed to reducing waste, fraud, and abuse??? Of course not.

If you can save half a billion dollars, then do it already! But that doesn't mean you have to turn right around and spend it all on something new! It's like looking at your family budget and saying hey, I just saved 15% on my car insurance my switching to Geico! Now we can buy a jet ski! No no no no no. You don't have to spend every red cent you earn.

Bottom line - there is a lot they could do to revise the healthcare industry and improve prices and access without growing the federal government in the process.

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