It was Albert Einstein who said, ‘Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them,’ yet that is exactly what President Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress hope to do. It will not be a ‘single payer system’ that will cut through the complexities of obtaining insurance. Neither will it be a ‘public option’ that grants access to the best doctors. True reform will only be found by individuals utilizing their personal freedoms and the free market to make the best choice for themselves and their families.
The moral argument about the ‘right’ of individuals to health care is used as justification for reform. Nonetheless, it must be remembered that a right is a protection, not a gift. A right ensures that we may conduct our lives as we choose without interference by institutions or our fellow man. Above all else, health care is a service, not a right. By making health care a ‘right,’ President Obama calls for more government programs.
However, these only help to contribute to the distortion of the real costs of the problem.
Democrats plan to give health care to everyone for free (or as close to free as possible) despite the strong economic reasons against it. The altruistic goal of lowering costs at every stage of health care is unreasonable. Experience is the ultimate teacher that there is no such thing as a free lunch.
This bill will exacerbate the single biggest flaw in the current health care system – government involvement. It will continue to insulate consumers from the costs they incur. To use health care services while paying less than the costs incurred will raise the costs for the group as a whole. If people feel they are spending someone else’s money, disciplined spending cannot and will not be expected.
This means that all Americans who do not receive assistance from the government will see the price of their health care rise. Health insurance provided by the government does not actually create a more efficient or cheaper good. It merely undercuts the private enterprise by charging the purchaser less for a service. The only way to accomplish this is by simultaneously increasing government involvement through subsidies. Subsidies come from taxes.
Supporters of Obama’s health care reform claim it will increase competition and keep the private sector ‘honest.’ But it is competition that holds the private industry accountable, not government monopolies. With competition come choices that provide the necessary protection for the consumer. If the ban on the purchase of health insurance across state lines were to be lifted, new competition would arise that would help to lower the cost for everyone.
The desire of an industry to increase their profits will produce incentives for innovation. Companies always seek to increase their profits. Monopolies never innovate because there is no need.
It is the individuals seeking profits’ who reduced the rate of deaths from cardiovascular disease by two thirds in the last 50 years. President Obama’s plan for reform will transform the health care industry into a giant government monopoly and the level of innovation will never again be the same.
If Congress truly wanted to address the health care problem they could begin by removing the onerous rules against doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies. Doctors work hard throughout their schooling to earn jobs with prestige and money. The sea of malpractice lawsuits that simultaneously drowns them must stop. They are forced to practice defensive medicine all while the insurance premiums that we pay rise.
To remove the ability of individuals to choose how to spend their hard earned money on the health care plan of their choice is unthinkable in a country where freedom is cherished above all else. But that is what will happen if the health care bill proposed by President Obama passes. The alternative is to allow individuals the ability to choose their own medical insurance instead of relying on their employer – granting them both portability and independence.
Health care reform should take place far away from government mandates and regulations. Government intervention has become the fundamental problem with our health care system as it currently stands. It has turned the system into a vicious, never ending cycle that must stop in order for true reform to take place. Alternatives do exist that have reform as their true goal, yet the legislation that is currently proposed merely multiplies the current inefficiencies and leaves the public with fewer choices and a lower quality of care.
Health care should be rationed by people having the freedom to make their own economic calculations. That decision should not be left to a congressional committee comprised of politicians in a constant quest to increase their own power and remain in office. No one is made better off by placing our lives and the care our doctors are able to give into the hands of politicians. By moving health care reform away from government mandates and regulations and towards the free market perhaps true reform can ultimately take place.
Written on behalf of College Republicans.
Monaghan is a member of
the class of 2010.