Health Care Reform Is More Corporate Welfare
By Ron Paul
Last Wednesday the nation was riveted to the President's speech on healthcare reform before Congress. While the President's concern for the uninsured is no doubt sincere, his plan amounts to a magnanimous gift to the health insurance industry, despite any implications to the contrary.
For decades the insurance industry has been lobbying for mandated coverage for everyone. Imagine if the cell phone industry or the cable TV industry received such a gift from government? If government were to fine individuals simply for not buying a corporation's product, it would be an incredible and completely unfair boon to that industry, at the expense of freedom and the free market. Yet this is what the current healthcare reform plans intend to do for the very powerful health insurance industry.
The stipulation that pre-existing conditions would have to be covered seems a small price to pay for increasing their client pool to 100 of the American people. A big red flag, however, is that they would also have immunity from lawsuits, should they fail to actually cover what they are supposedly required to cover, so these requirements on them are probably meaningless. Mandates on all citizens to be customers of theirs, however, are enforceable with fines and taxes.
Insurance providers seem to have successfully equated health insurance with health care but this is a relatively new concept. There were doctors and medicine long before there was health insurance. Health insurance is not a bad thing, but it is not the only conceivable way to get health care. Instead, we seem to still rely on the creativity and competence of politicians to solve problems, which always somehow seem to be tied in with which lobby is the strongest in Washington.
It is sad to think of the many creative, free market solutions that government prohibits with all its interference. What if instead of joining a health insurance plan, you could buy a membership directly from a hospital or doctor? What if a doctor wanted to have a cash-only practice, or make house calls, or determine his or her own patient load, or otherwise practice medicine outside the constraints of the current bureaucratic system? Alternative healthcare delivery models will be at an even stronger competitive disadvantage if families are forced to buy into the insurance model. And yet, the reforms are sold to us as increasing competition.
What if just once Washington got out of the way and allowed the ingenuity of the American people to come up with a whole spectrum of alternatives to our broken system? Then the free market, not lobbyists and politicians, would decide which models work and which did not.
Unfortunately, the most broken aspect of our system is that Washington sees the need to act on every problem in society, rather than staying out of the way, or getting out of the way. The only tools the government has are force and favors. These are tools that many unscrupulous and lazy corporations would like to wield to their own advantage, rather than simply providing a better product that people will willingly buy. It seems the health insurance industry will get more of those.
Campaign For Liberty — Health Care Reform Is More Corporate Welfare
Sorry Ron Paul, hands off approach is not going to work this time. What about the many who will never be able to afford health care, or at best be underinsured? That's my age group; people in my age range tend to be at risk of this the most.
I believe that everyone in America should have access to health care. But this is not the same as health insurance.
You can't give everyone in America health insurance, because by definition, insurance is something that you pay for. Not everyone in America can pay for health insurance. Then, if you subsidize health insurance to some, but not others, then you are discriminating insurance availability based on income or class. You will also end up forcing people to buy levels of insurance that they don't want to keep everything equal. Americans will NEVER approve of this.
The only *simple* way to give everyone health care, is also something that Americans will NEVER approve of. That is to eliminate the private health insurance concept and give everyone free health care, paid for by a large tax increase. (Like many countries do) This would probably work from an administrative standpoint, but I personally don't like it for this reason:
I don't have as much of a problem with higher taxes, or the Federal government regulating or providing health insurance. But I have a HUGE problem with the Federal government providing health care. One of the basic principals of humanity is never give a central government power to provide something that you wouldn't want them to have the power to withhold.
Even though the American form of ferderalist republic government is more highly resistant to abuse of powers than any other system in the world, that principle should still hold.
I personally believe that health insurance policy should be provided on a state level, with the federal government regulating states to ensure that they are insuring all of their residents. Medicaid and Medicare should be eliminated completely. Each state should have a plan to collect taxes and offer coverage to every resident regardless of age or income, they should be able to regulate in-state private insurers and offer competing plans. Each state should regulate (with Federal oversight) medical malpractice laws for doctors practicing in their state.
This does several things:
- Gives 50 "testing grounds" for differing health insurance legislative policies, allowing us to see which systems work the best. The states that come up with better systems can be copied by other states.
- Introduces competition between states. States that have more attractive health insurance legistlation will attract more doctors, business, and residents. This will be more than enough incentive for states to keep their policy efficient.
- Lower Federal costs by raising state costs. State taxes will increase while Federal taxes should decrease. Distributes the incredible overall burden of reform to more manageable chunks.
- Reduces the burden of legislation at the Federal level, but allows them input by setting minimum standards for regulation.
However, I can't see this happening in a million years either, because states are so deep in debt right now, that few if any could possible take on this big of an undertaking, nor could they afford it if they wanted to. I also can't see Congress or the President letting go of this issue, because the outcome is so politically important to the careers of these people. I also don't think most Americans will go for it, because they seem to trust the federal government more than state governments.
The point is: I don't see anything good happening anytime soon, because nobody is willing to make the sacrifices necessary for long term, effective reform.
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