Tuesday, August 04, 2009

When is an option not an option?

Several people have asked me what exactly is this "public option" that Democrats are pushing as medical insurance "reform".

The first thing you have to understand is that it is an "option" only in the sense that paying your taxes is an "option." It will soon be the ONLY legal option.

On page 16 of the one-thousand-plus page bill being proposed in the House of Representatives is a provision which makes it illegal for insurance companies to issue private medical insurance to individuals.

Instead, if you want to buy medical insurance, you have one option: you must buy the government's insurance. You can't even go directly to a doctor and pay out-of-pocket. The law mandates that if someone goes to a doctor without government-approved insurance, the doctor must enroll that person in the government program.

The good news is that this government insurance will supposedly cost less than private individual insurance costs today. This is because it will be subsidized by taxpayer money. This is kind of like "free" public schools. They are not really free -- you pay for them with your taxes whether you use them or not. Many private schools provide a better education for a lower cost than the public schools, but they are not affordable to some people because they are already being taxed to pay for public schools. In the same way, private medical insurance will provide better quality, more timely care, but when you are forced to pay for the public option whether you use it or not, the private insurance can't compete.

While BO has promised that taxes will not go up for middle-class taxpayers, and that people will be allowed to keep their employer-provided insurance, you can count on those assurance going by the wayside as soon as the new entitlement it irrevocably entrenched. Yesterday tax cheat Tim Geithner, who heads BO's Treasury Department, admitted that huge tax hikes are coming. The cigarette tax and "Cap and Trade" are tax hikes which BO supports which directly affect the middle class, as is the devaluation of currency by printing massive amounts of money. BO may disguise his taxes, but the middle class will pay for his rampant spending.

The video I posted earlier today includes admissions from BO, Pelosi, and other Democrats that the public option is intended to lead to their real goal: single-payer healthcare, where the government provides all medical services and doctors work for the government rather than for the patient. The House bill includes punative payroll taxes on larger companies who don't offer the "public option," essentially forcing them to comply, with the expectation that the taxpayer-subsidized public option will be able to underprice the other plans and choke them out.

Once you have been herded into the public "option" medical plan, all your troubles are over, right? Free health care! Who could wish for anything more? But the reality is that you will face a bureaucratic maze of government officials whose job is to ration treatment, insulate you from your doctor, and reduce your access to treatment in an effort to keep costs down. You will have to deal with newly-created entities such as the "Health Insurance Exchange", the "Health Choices Administration", "National Center for Health Workforce Analysis", "Advisory Committee on Health Workforce Evaluation", "Bureau of Health Information", "Health Benefits Advisory Committee", "Accountable Care Organization", "National Priorities for Performance Improvement Administration", and "Public Health Investment Fund", all newly created government agencies enmeshed in a mindboggling bureaucracy interposed between you and your doctor.

Every country which has tried government-run health care has been forced to resort to increased rationing of care. Extremely long waits to see a doctor are the norm. Even emergency surgeries may require waits of six months to three years. And treatment for those deemed to be too old or to sick to be worth expending limited resources on is simply denied. The House Bill creates a "Comparative Effectiveness Research Commission" whose task is to determine where money is most effectively spent for treatment. That sounds good until you consider that it means that some people will come out on the wrong end of their research and be denied treatment. When flood of Canadians cross the border to get medical care in America that they can't get in their government-run system at home, one wonders why we are trying to emulate their system.

But here is one more aspect to consider: the House bill requires seniors to receive "end of life" counciling to encourage them to make a living will. I don't have any problem with someone deciding to make a living will, but it is none of the government's business if I make one or not. However, when government is paying for everyone's medical care, it becomes the government's business. Many things that you really don't want the government involved with become the government's business. If granny dies more quickly, that saves taxpayers' money. If someone smokes, should we all be forced to pay for his cancer treatments? If too many people are falling off ladders, maybe we should ban ladders? Or require that only unionized ladder workers can use ladders? McDonald's food drives up medical costs as well, so the government will have to regulate the content and portions served at restaurants. Suddenly every choice I make and every risk I take becomes a matter of state interest because the government pays for the resulting medical bills. Democrats should be aware that this cuts both ways: when only government can provide healthcare, a pro-life President could eliminate abortion funding with a single executive order.

Well, that's a long answer to a short question. The "public option" is the Democrat's Trojan Horse scheme to get single-payer socialized medicine, and destroy the capitalist system which makes American medicine the envy of the world. Be sure to let your Congresscritter know what you think about it while they are home for the August recess.

1 comment:

David H said...

It makes me ill to think about it (pun intended). Sure hope people come to their senses and blow out congress in 2010...