The Case Against the Democrat’s Health care Proposal: Why Government Getting involved in Health Care Should Make You Sick

On November 7th, the House narrowly passed the “Health Care for America” act. This bill creates a government run insurance option, forces individuals to purchase health insurance or pay a fine, expands Medicaid and prevents health insurance companies from charging different rates or refusing coverage due to a persons’s medical history. [1] While many Democrats are championing this bill, if it becomes law, it will be an absolute disaster.
Liberals will often try to argue that health care in America is dreadful and government-run health care in places like Canada, France and Britain is far superior. This could not be farther from the truth. Americans are overwhelmingly satisfied with their healthcare. The reality is that 83% of Americans rate the health care they receive as “good to excellent,” while only 3% of Americans say the health care they receive is poor. [3] Liberals like to tell horror stories of people denied coverage as if it is commonplace. They say insurance companies are villains because they check people’s medical history and sometimes deny people. However, health insurance companies average only a 3% claims denial rate. [7] In addition, the way insurance works is that one group of people pay premiums in one pot, and the people who do not get sick end up paying for the people who are sick. If a company takes on more sick people, this creates a higher cost for everyone. Thus, the companies are forced to investigate people, and most also prevent insurance fraud.
One may also argue that medicine should not be about profit and instead should be about caring for people. Nevertheless, profit is what drives innovation. Profit motivates and creates competition leading to lower costs and higher effectiveness. Ultimately, when companies compete, consumers win. Over the last twenty years, private American companies trying to make a profit have created half of all new major medicines worldwide. Over the last thirty years, they have played a crucial role in eighty percent of worldwide medical advances. It should be noted that the United States government has produced a whopping 4% of the drugs on the market today. [7]
Some of the problems in countries with government-sponsored health care are mind-boggling. You would be hard pressed to find a Democrat who would tell you that the French health care system is expected to have a ten billion euro deficit this year. [5] 92% of French citizens have private health insurance, in addition to the government system. In Canada, there are hundreds of thousands of people on waiting lists for some kind of health care treatment. The Canadian Supreme Court has even said that many Canadians waiting for treatment suffer chronic pain and that “patients die while on the waiting list.” In Canada, over a million Canadians say they cannot find a regular family doctor. Demand for private clinics is so high that they are opening across the country even though they are illegal. [7] In Britain, there are 850,000 citizens waiting for admission to government hospitals and the government is trying to cut waiting times for hospital care down to 18 weeks. [2] Every year, up to 50,000 operations are cancelled due to shortages. About 40% of cancer patients never even get see an oncology specialist. Because of this, almost 20% of colon cancer cases considered treatable when first diagnosed are no longer curable by the time health care is offered. [7]
If the Democrats’ health care bill passes in the Senate, the ramifications will be devastating. The government does not run programs as smoothly and effectively as private companies can, since there is no competition and few incentives. Do you want your health care run like the DMV? Healthy people who take care of themselves should not be forced to pay for people who choose to smoke or overeat. With our country already in so much debt, it is quite alarming that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the proposed health care program will cost 1.055 trillion over a decade. [6] To pay for this, Democrats’ suggest an additional $572 billion in taxes. This means people in the top tax bracket will pay 45% of their income to the government, without even counting state income tax. In my home state of New York, those in the top tax bracket would be forced to pay 57% of their income to the government. [4] The idea that most of your paycheck goes to the government is quite simply outrageous, not to mention bad for business. Not only will the bill cause public health care to take up an even greater share of the federal budget, but it will also significantly increase the cost of insurance premiums. According to WellPoint insuarance, premiums would TRIPLE under the new law. [6]
It is true that there are nearly 50 million uninsured Americans. However, it is also true that many of those people are only uninsured for brief periods and others are eligible for Medicaid but fail to apply. [2] Being uninsured does not mean one cannot receive health care. Government-run hospitals and non-profit organizations provide health services for people without insurance. In addition, by law, a hospital must provide care even if a person is not insured.
No one should ever have to go bankrupt while paying for life-saving treatment. Consumer make tax deferred contributions into an account to be used for medical expenses. Over time, an HSA gains value. When you are sick with something small like a cough, you pay for it. If you get sick with something serious like cancer, they pay. HSAs give consumers control of the money, and so when they pay for treatment of minor illnesses, they will be encouraged to put an effort to find cheaper prices.

Bibliography
[1] CBS News. “Key Provisions of the House Health Care Bill” http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/11/07/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry5570605.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody. (Accessed November 9, 2009)
[2] Cato Institute. “Moore’s Sick RX” http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=8271. (Accessed November 9 2009)
[3] Gallup. “Majority of Americans Satisfied With Their Healthcare Plans” http://www.gallup.com/poll/102934/majority-americans-satisfied-their-own-healthcare.aspx. (Accesses November 1 2009)
[4] New York Post. “Dem Health RX a Poi$on Pill in NY” http://www.nypost.com/p/news/regional/dem_health_rx_poi_on_pill_in_ny_3AApff75KCb9ZbMkjSC8PO. (Accessed November 9 2009)
[5] Reuters. “French Government to Tackle Surging Health Care Deficit” http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE5863CN20090907. (Accessed November 9 2009)
[6] The Wall Street Journal. “The Worst Bill Ever” http://online.wsj.com/article_email
[7] “Whose Body Is It Anyway? Sick in America” John Stossel. 20/20. ABC, 14 September 2007.

Cedric Karaoglan
Class of 2012
College of Arts & Science

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One Response to “The Case Against the Democrat’s Health care Proposal: Why Government Getting involved in Health Care Should Make You Sick”

  1. Matthew Taylor says:

    comment comment comment.

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