By: Wayne Brown
I listened to the talking heads today debating the potential directions the new Congress might take with the changes from the recent mid-term elections. Speculation ran a gambit of subjects from immigration to Cap And Trade, to the current healthcare legislation. Most seemed to think that the Republicans are bent on reversing the healthcare laws as they are currently enacted. Most also doubt that it can be done in totality with the Democrats still in control in the Senate and the President vowing to veto any such legislation crossing his desk.
When we boil it down, the current healthcare system set to go into effect in 2013 contains a vast volume of unknown content. Legislators who passed the legislation enacting the system admitted to not reading the 1900+ pages bill prior to voting for it. Even the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, remarked that “we have to pass this bill so we can see what is in it!” I must admit that may be the most monumentally stupid statement coming out of the entire debate. Well, they passed it and the American public still has no idea what is in it so it only makes sense that some legislation should be enacted to repeal the law so we can once again “try to see what’s in it!”
There are isolated items which have come to the forefront of the discussion as this issue was debated. A number of them have exposed that the President misled the public with what the bill would and would not do especially in the areas of free choice and the cost of the medical care under the legislation. There are those speculators who say that both sides of the aisle believe that there are good things in the existing legislation which should be maintained. If that statement is true, then it is not likely there will be an attempt to wholesale repeal the current legislation as enacted.
For all the discussion going on as to the merits and faults of the current healthcare system established under the recently passed legislation, it is my opinion that we are really missing the point. I find it ludicrous that we are even arguing across the aisle about a bill that no one seems to know the content of well enough to discuss it intelligently. I am of the opinion that the first step, one that should have been taken months ago by the way, should be to put the current plan on the table and let’s examine it in the private sector, in the public sector, in the media sector, and God forbid, possibly even the legislative branch where it should have been read in its entirety in the first place.
Until that step is accomplished and a representative depiction is presented to the public of the current plan, no other decisions should be made. From my perspective, we, as the citizens of America, know little or nothing about this plan for good reasons. There are people within our own government who had rather it not be known until the plan is in place and operating. Then, it might just be too late to do anything about it. If this is such a good plan for America, then let’s get it on the table and maybe we can find some people industrious enough and actually willing to read it from cover to cover. Then and only then will we know where we stand.
For all of the friction and argument both pro and con regarding this healthcare plan thrust upon the American people, there are factors to be considered. I hear some factions expressing thanks that all people will have healthcare available. These same people scoff at the idea that individuals will actually be required by law to buy it without choice of the provider. These same people scoff at the indication that the cost of this insurance plan will increase on average at least 13% in the first year even if you currently have insurance. These same people scoff at the idea that the majority of Americans never envisioned a plan that went this far and changed so much yet we as citizens, like the medical industry, know little or northing about it.
Those are valid concerns and there are some among us and in high places in government who feel all of that can easily be remedied once the plan is enacted and in place. They do not see any real basis for concern or resistance. From my perspective, I feel there is one large and glaring error that is the fly in the soup in this whole discussion. That point happens to be that this plan brings “government run healthcare” to America. That single consideration should be enough to send the American public running in all directions away from such a consideration. For all the problems we may have in the medical and healthcare industry, having the government enter into the everyday operation of it is not something people of sound mind would even consider. If that point does not get through to you, take a good look at the price of postage stamps in America. Take a look at veterans health care. Take a look at Medicare. There are any number of examples which indicate that this is not another place that the government needs to be inserting itself into the lives of its citizens regardless of how good the plan may be. Plain and simply, it takes away the citizens power of choice, it stymies research and development, and it turns away the most talented among us who would otherwise choose a career in medicine. In light of all of that, it does nothing for one of the largest factors driving health costs today…tort reform. For all those pages expended in this plan, there was no tort reform. So, now the government can simply use taxpayer money to satisfy all of the cases that come forward in terms of malpractice issues. That over sight on the part of the lawyers in Congress passing this plan will go far to line their pockets with taxpayer money once they return to private practice.
Initially, this legislation as enacted will likely create a framework of compliance for all competing insurance companies in the USA who are medical service providers. It will stipulate who is covered, how they are covered, and what if anything may be restricted in terms of that coverage. It may also go so far as to stipulate what can be charged in terms of the coverage. With a framework in place then the insurance companies have to determine whether they stay in the game or get out based on whether or not they think they can make a profit. At the next level, the system likely changes to mirror what is seen in today’s corporate insurance programs. In this case, the corporation is self-insured and the insurance company merely acts as the administrator of the program. They provide guidance on coverage, etc. which will already be stipulated in the government regulations. At that point, the government or might I more correctly say, the taxpayers become the single payer provider for all healthcare in America and the insurance companies are relegated to collecting fees from the government to administer a single program in a given region or multiple regions. This will be the closest thing to a “choice” that anyone will have. Ultimately ,we the taxpayers foot the bill and the government makes all the decisions. If it sound familiar, it is an old formula which has been employed over and over and continues to fail miserably.
Hopefully the conservative shift in Washington will signal a new direction in America. Hopefully, we can minimize some of the damage which has been thrust upon the American taxpayer since the Democrats took control of Congress in 2007. Hopefully, we can find effective methods to reduce some of the spending that has been going on now to outrageous levels and avoid raising taxes on the public to cover the deficit only to return to the same old tired process of looking for more ways to spend money.
America needs to lose the greed, power-hunger, and devious methods which have been in place for too long now in our federal government. America needs to continue in its demand that spending be reduced and sanity applied. America needs a government which is far smaller than the current one which has grown by a factor 25% in just the past two years.
Certainly the mid-term elections and the changes which came with it have sent a strong message that America wants a different approach, a different direction, a different intent from its government and the officials populating it. But this is just the beginning; not the end. America must stay on message and remain vigilant in letting the leadership of this nation know that they do work for us and they should be following “the will of the people ” in all they do in the future.
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