Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wishing Won’t Make it So

Obama Signs The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act

This week President Obama and the Democratic congress is beginning work on what they call health care reform. While many trial balloons have been sent up, the consensus seems to be landing on Senator Kennedy’s plan, which theoretically creates a public/private option. In reality, it creates a lot more requirements for private plans, which will undoubtedly push private insurers out of the market. Scott E. Harrington, professor of health-care management and insurance and risk management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, analyzes this plan in the Wall Street Journal, suggesting that it won’t be long before private plans are driven out of business.

Folks, let’s face it. It’s government involvement in the health care system that has caused most of the problems we have today. Health care prior to 1960 was quite good and quite affordable. From the beginning of Medicare and Medicaid in the mid-1960s, the government has paid less than the cost of care while increasing regulatory requirements. When I worked in the hospital field 25 years ago, we were struggling to make budget under increasing federal cost constraints. The situation has only gotten worse. Yes, some people have problems getting health insurance and yes, the cost is exorbitant. But government involvement will only make it worse. It will ultimately result in shortages and rationing, just like in every other country with a national health system. And just how do we expect inexperienced politicians who've never run anything to solve a problem that has baffled the professionals for decades?

The Obama administration still doesn’t know how it will cover the cost of this plan – approximately $1 trillion over 10 years. Obama has proposed $634 billion in tax increases and spending cuts as a down payment on the plan and is soon expected to outline an additional $300 billion in Medicare and Medicaid cuts. And this in addition to the trillions already spent on bailouts and the proposed new budget. The administration has proposed taxing employer-paid health benefits, which will result in fewer of those and reduce personal disposable income -- a plan which he criticized McCain for proposing during the campaign, by the way...

Ask yourself: what has government ever done well or for a lower cost than private industry? If you love the DMV and postal service, you’ll love national health care. Personally, I’ll keep what I’ve got.

By the way, now the Kennedy Plan proposes covering long term care – a true sink hole.

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