It is naive and ridiculous to equate polls that show that majority of Americans who are in favor of health care reform with the idea that they want an overhaul that includes a single payer socialistic health care system. As a discerning person, if I were asked whether or not the health care system needs to be reformed, I would answer with a resounding "Yes!"
President Obama and the liberal left, believe the only answer to this is to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and essentially scrap the old system with a health care system that will magically provide high quality health care for all while costing next to nothing. Their rhetoric rings hollow, when the details in the health care proposal come out showing massive new taxes for just about everyone. Regardless, they call the "public option" (code for government run single payer health care)necessary to increase competition among private sector health plans.
There are some facts that need to be pointed out.
First, while the American Health Care system needs to be reformed, this very same flawed health care system, complete with its capitalistic incentives, has produced the absolute highest quality of care in the world. (Evil) pharmaceutical companies, because of the incentive to make gobs of money, have invented new drugs that have extended both longevity and quality of life for all citizens. Neither of these two facts are in dispute. The successes of health care and pharma companies has in part led to spiraling costs. People under 50, for the most part don't get sick and don't spend money on health care. As people live longer, it costs more and more to keep them alive, with a decent quality of life. I am not proposing or advocating anything here. I am simply stating a fact.
Second, the rationale for the "public option" that said public option will improve competition is utterly false on two levels. First, is the straw man arguement that there is no competition now. There is, but depending on the state one lives in, that competition is severly limited by laws prohibiting interstate commerce in the health insurance industry. My wife's dilemma is a perfect example of this problem. She works (remotely) for a company in another state, who's parent company is in yet another state. Because she is only one of three employees in this state, health care cost for our family is roughly $700 dollars per month. If federal law allowed interstate commerce among insurance companies, she could be grouped with the hundreds of employees who work in the state where her company's main office is, thus cutting her insurance IN HALF. By simply removing these limitations, the government would be able to increase competition without spending a dime. The second point is the idea that a public option would fairly create competition. The government does have to make a profit to exist. A public health care plan, with the deep pocket of the federal government complete with deficit spending, could spend as much as it wants, undercutting the private sector and effectively killing competition. Make no mistake, this is the precise purpose of the public option.
What I hear from liberals is the argument that it is fundamentally wrong for corporations profits from peoples sickness and suffering. This is anther straw man argument. First I do not believe honest profits are wrong, and in fact the capitalist/free market system is the reason that the United States has the highest quality, and greatest innovation in health care in the world. If this were not so, why then do people, when they are really sick, often seek medical care in the United States. It is my argument that the market forces have been turned off, and it is this very reason that health care costs are spiraling upward. If Congress wants to fix this problem, they need to examine how and why market forces are not keeping costs down, as they do in almost every other industry.
More on this later.
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