President Obama’s “Healthcare Reform” proposals are enough to make any right-thinking person feel sick, for three main reasons. First and foremost, this system substitutes coercion for choice. It will take away peoples’ ability to work with healthcare providers to make their own medical decisions. Secondly, it will drive up healthcare costs and taxes for everyone. Third, it will take away healthcare providers’ ability to make an honest living.
Medicare and Medicaid pay so little in reimbursements to healthcare providers that they often lose money by treating patients. In order to make the proposed plans work without bankrupting the Treasury, Obama has promised to reduce costs. The only way to add 50 million people to the insurance rolls and “reduce costs” is to cut reimbursements even further.
The Healthcare Heroes event recently sponsored by Nevada Business Magazine and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield was inspiring and uplifting. We celebrated many caring individuals who have devoted their lives to improving the lives of others. Honorees included a pediatric oncologist who organized a Tae Kwon Do class for his young cancer patients, and a woman whose own tragic experience led her to donate $2 million to help create a more comfortable stay for those with family members suffering from long-term illnesses. These heroes and others like them deserve our support and help.
Yes, the present healthcare system is inefficient, expensive and sometimes unfair, but ask yourself how these problems developed. It isn’t because the private enterprise system failed to work. It’s because the present system is bogged down in bureaucracy and regulations caused by government interference. Federal government meddling created the current mess, and now they propose to “reform” the healthcare system by giving us more of the same.
Due to public protests about creating a government-run public insurance plan, Obama now insists that his plan will leave room for private insurance companies. A hybrid system called “private insurance cooperatives” is supposed to foster healthy competition and lower rates. Don’t be fooled – private insurance cooperatives are just a way for the far-left progressives in the Obama camp to get their foot in the door. As we saw with Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, these quasi-government entities develop pretty quickly into federal bureaucracies, with more waste, inefficiency and lack of oversight than the current private system.
If this legislation passes, the federal government will start setting standards through a federal health board, making “recommendations” on standards of care. Once the federal government starts deciding what kind of care we should receive, our freedom of choice will be gone. Private insurance companies will be forced to follow the federal guidelines, or they will forced out of the marketplace altogether.
Which brings us to the question of choice – if you are forced into the government’s program, a federal board will decide what kind of care you receive. Did a committee decide that you don’t need a hip replacement because a wheelchair is cheaper? Sorry – you have no right to appeal. In addition, a system called Quality-Adjusted Remaining Years can amortize the cost of treatment over the remaining “quality years of life” likely for that patient. Healthcare rationing will be justified in the name of providing care for the most number of people, and that could mean that your elderly parents don’t get the care they need.
The congressional budget office says the current House plan would increase the deficit by $239 billion over the next 10 years. History shows that government entitlement programs always cost more than the original estimates, as they grow in scope and become more and more top-heavy. However, the real cost will not be in dollars – it will be measured by the quality of life for average Americans, who will lose another basic freedom if this program is authorized.
For more information: Americans for Free Choice in Medicine, afcm.org
The Heritage Foundation, heritage.org
Originally published in Nevada Business Magazine: