Social Question

dutchoventom's avatar

Should the federal Government be in the health care business?

Asked by dutchoventom (5 points ) July 23rd, 2009

Why or why not ? And the follow-up – Is health care a right or a privilege? And should it be mandatory? And if you opt out should hospitals and doctors be able to totally deny care? And should those of us who are working pay for everybody else’s care who aren’t contributing ? Isn’t this a form of welfare?

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54 Answers

Judi's avatar

Yes. Health care should be a basic human right in any industrialized nation. We don’t leave education, or policing up to the private sector and we should not leave health care there either. Health care should not be reserved for those who can afford it. It should be available for all, just like education, fire and police protection and even public libraries.

Harp's avatar

The federal government should at least be in the business of making sure that health care is available to all (which is, of course, different than saying that the government should be providing that care). This is one of the fundamental determinants for how well society functions, and so the government has a compelling interest in making it work well for as many citizens as possible.

As for whether it’s a right or a privilege, we as an electorate decide for ourselves what our rights are; if we want universal health care to be a right, then we can make it a right.

Those of us who are working are already paying for those who “aren’t contributing”. Part of the reason for the runaway cost of health care in the US is that people who are unable to access adequate care on a routine basis end up entering the system only after their health crises have become acute. Many people have to use the hospital ER as their primary care, which costs far more to the system than would a routine doctor’s visit. Those costs get passed on to everyone. Unless we as a society are willing to say “If you can’t afford to pay for your health care, too bad for you” (and I’d like to think we’re better than that), then we will bear those cost one way or another. The question becomes whether we deal with it in a cost-efficient, regulated way.

mushroom's avatar

Absolutly. Insurance companies are parasitic. Mine just raised the rates substantially without warning (again,)

kheredia's avatar

We all go through difficult times. You may be well off right now but it doesn’t mean you always will be. We need to help each other out here. Could you imagine what it would be like if everybody only looked out for themselves. The U.S. would be chaos! I think everybody should be able to have health care. It’s the humane thing to do.

cwilbur's avatar

I’m not sure that the federal government should be involved in health care, but I am not sure that the problems and inequities of the current system will improve on their own if nothing is done. There are too many powerful people who benefit too much from prolonging the problem.

Also, what happens right now is that people who cannot afford health insurance don’t get any healthcare, go to the emergency room when a condition becomes unbearable, and skip out without paying. This means that the hospitals have to choose between passing on the costs of treatment to other people or closing their emergency rooms altogether. Those of us with money or health insurance or both are already paying for the uninsured; if we build a single-payer system, we’d probably be paying less for them than we are now. In particular, they could get maintenance care, and so deal with a problem when it costs $50 and a doctor’s office visit to fix rather than when it costs $5000 and a trip to the ER.

I don’t have a theoretical problem with it being opt-in—that people who choose not to pay should not be required to, and thus those people could not receive healthcare unless they pay cash up-front. I’m not sure that this would be all that workable, because there are people who would opt-out, have a medical emergency, go to the emergency room, be denied care, and sue. Also, I’m not sure that doctors, nurses, paramedics, and other hospital staff would just sit by and watch someone suffer because of lack of money.

And yes, those of us who are working should pay for people who can’t contribute, because we all benefit from a healthier society. This is why those of us who earn more and have more assets pay more in taxes—because we can afford to pay more, and because we benefit from good schools even if we don’t have kids ourselves, we benefit from solid infrastructure, we benefit from police and fire protection even if we live in safe neighborhoods, and we benefit from everyone around us being healthy and happy.

And “welfare” is a loaded word. It’s not a transfer payment; it’s an investment in the common good.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

Absolutely not.

http://www.campaignforliberty.com/article.php?view=143
Stop Obamacare Now!
By David McKalip, M.D.
Published 07/23

The Majority in Congress and the President are promising to change the “status quo” by pushing a government run-medicine plan (HR 3200). The plan would create rationing through government committees, force all Americans to buy over-priced, politically created health insurance, create an economically unsustainable government-run insurance plan and impose economy-crushing taxes. In fact, the President would break yet another promise by imposing a 2.5% income tax on each person who refused to buy government improved insurance. Further, after 2013 people would be forced to stay in their current plan for life or buy only a government-approved plan since no further enrollment will be allowed in non-approved insurance. Insurance companies would profit endlessly from the free business of the mandate. As medical care demands increased and artificially high profit margins became unacceptably low (for them) they would join the bailout game. In other words, there would be absolutely no change to the status quo — just an expansion of more people into the currently bad system with the added feature of state-sanctioned rationing of medical care.

President Obama and Congress are building a medical cage that would trap all Americans and their doctors. Doctors who chose to provide the best, most innovative care with the fewest side effects to their patients would be punished. Doctors will be coerced to buy electronic medical records and send the private medical data of their patients and the details of their medical decisions to the government and insurance companies. The data of your doctors’ medical practice would then be scanned by bureaucrats to see that they have complied with rules designed to force them to ration care. They must practice “efficiently” to avoid a 5%-40% pay cut or to avoid being driven out of practice altogether. The same government that recently accidentally posted all the nation’s sensitive nuclear sites on the internet would then have to be trusted to keep your data confidential. With full access to every bit of your medical data, government and insurance companies would have an excuses to deny care for your “non-compliance” with, for instance, a diabetes control or tobacco cessation program. Congressional plans would likely add to the cost of health insurance by adding mandated benefits to plans you must buy — perhaps even forcing pro-life taxpayers to subsidize abortions.

Congress is foolishly basing its health system reform proposals on the same approach used in Massachusetts. The state has failed to achieve “universal coverage” with about 200,000 (2.6%) of their state still uninsured. In fact, most of the newly insured were covered by receiving heavily subsidized insurance from the state — not due to the mandate to buy private insurance out of pocket. Due to budget overruns, they recently voted to remove coverage from 30,000 legal aliens for a $130 million savings and last year released others who couldn’t afford costly coverage from the mandate. Health care costs are rising much faster than nationally with spending up by 23 percent. Insurance premiums have increased 10–12 percent per year, nearly double the national average. The state is facing $1.5 billion this year in health spending and now is considering cost control programs that will limit care doctors provide to patients. There are too few providers for the increased demand – due to price fixing of doctor pay for decades by the federal government. Thus patients are waiting long periods to see doctors — especially in primary care. Congressional proposals to fix this included allowing nurse practitioners to be designated primary care “providers”, negating the years of training doctors receive and discouraging more doctors from entering the profession to compete against nurses for the same business.

Fortunately there are good Congressional proposals to address these problems and to allow American to escape from the government’s medical cage. Congressman Ron Paul has authored HR 2630, the “Protect Patients and Physician’s Privacy Act”. The bill states that all individuals shall have the ability to opt out of any federally mandated, created, or funded electronic system for maintaining health care information. He also is offering HR 2629 the “Coercion is Not Health Care Act’” which forbids the Federal Government from forcing any American to purchase health insurance, and from conditioning participation in any federal program, or receipt of any federal benefit, on the purchase of health insurance.

Free market economist and philosopher of freedom, Friedrich Hayek defined freedom as “the absence of coercion”. In his classic The Road to Serfdom he describes how parliamentary bodies (like Congress) prefer to delegate their power to unelected committees to insulate themselves from criticism — especially when they create economically unsustainable programs which are promises that they cannot keep. Modern Congressional promises that can’t be kept include Medicare, SCHIP and now a proposed public option and heavily subsidized, but mandated, universal health insurance. Congressman Paul is channeling Hayek when he works to protect us from coercion proposed by Congress and from the power their appointed committees would gain by using the valuable medical information essentially looted from each American alive. As a free American, it is in your your best interest to use the freedom you have now to rise up to stop this very un-American intrusion into your lives. Some would say it is your duty — but that would be coercion too. Yet remember that Benjamin Franklin told us that when you fight for your own freedom, you are helping the cause of liberty for all. And a society with more freedom is in everyone’s individual interest. You can start by calling your Congressman and ask them to support HR 2629 and HR 2630. Then recruit others who have an open mind to the cause.

Darwin's avatar

Health care should be a right in any country that can afford it. And if given a choice between government-run health care and business-run health care, I would opt for the former.

As a military dependent I have experienced both. While the paperwork of a government-run system can be a pita, it is much better than having to not get the care you need because either you don’t have the money, or because some faceless person decides your needs would cost too much.

Perhaps an ideal situation would be a cross between the two, where doctors are on salary so no one would be pushing for more tests to make more money, or denying care to save money.

christine215's avatar

Absolutely NOT! For various and sundry reasons:

A) Our government is not good at running business,

Here’s an excellent article by John Steele Gordon explaining why:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124277530070436823.html

B) I believe that it’d be taking this country one step closer to a socialist society, which is not part of the principals which this country was founded.

People, remember it was Marx who said
“From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”

We already have Medicare & Medicaid… what more SHOULD we have? What obligation is it for those of us who work to give insurance to those who do not? What motivation would it be for someone who is being given food stamps, housing, free health care, and welfare checks to go out and GET A JOB?

C) Where do you draw the line? Where does it stop?

BBSDTfamily's avatar

I was against it but Dalepaetrie opened my eyes to the possibility of it not being so bad… I think maybe out of either letting a multi-million profited insurance company control my health care or a non-profit government control it, I’d take the non-profit.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I think it’s a shame that our health care system is the way it is. We’re a rich country and we should ensure that all citizens have access to health care. Private insurance companies are running rampant and screwing people left and right just for money’s sake, which is SO, SO wrong. If the government has to get involved to make it happen, so be it.

jrpowell's avatar

The next motherfucker that mentions socialism without knowing what socialism is gets dick-punched.

Harp's avatar

In many cities back before the Civil War, fire protection wasn’t provided by the government, but by fire brigades on the payroll of for-profit insurance companies. Homeowners would buy insurance with such-and-such a company, and they would get a plaque to hang on the front of the house so that if there was a fire, the brigades could see whether or not they’d get paid for putting your fire out.

Most of us look at that now and realize what a nutso system that was, and we’d never want to go back to doing it that way. But what if the people in those days had said “I like my coverage just fine. Why should I pay to cover somebody else? Government will screw it up. It’ll raise my taxes. It’s just another step toward socialism. Un-American!”

That sounds pretty silly now that we have our government-run fire departments, doesn’t it? Well, that’s the way all the alarmist speech going down now will seem to us when we look back on it in a few decades

Judi's avatar

@Harp, That is the absolute best answer I have ever heard to the numbnuts who are against universal health coverage. What a great analogy!!!

jrpowell's avatar

Hi christine215. You are now on my list of people I will not help. I hope your computer keeps on working.

ratboy's avatar

Health care ought to be a service, not a business.

critter1982's avatar

Cool maybe soon I can get insurance for my car from the government too.

Judi's avatar

@critter1982 ; you’re required to have insurance if you want a car, and I believe (although I don’t think it will happen) that your employer should be required to provide you insurance if he wants an employee.
We only have 5 employees but we provide health insurance for them. We make a lot less take home than our competitors who don’t provide it, but we feel it’s a moral obligation.

dynamicduo's avatar

Here in Canada this is the case. And I have to admit, the result is a much better one.

Only in America can someone’s life be effectively ended (by debt) in order for them to survive cancer or any other illness.

As much as I hate paying the amount of taxes I do in Canada, I am more than willing to do so to ensure that everyone can walk into a hospital and not have to worry about how they will pay for it. The last thing on a cancer patient’s mind should be them worrying about how they will pay off their treatment.

Sure, you have people coming into the ER with a sniffy nose and fever, but the nurses at the triage desk know how to prioritize.

There is more than enough evidence showing that a preventative health care system is greatly beneficial in overall long term health. But there is a huge conflict of interest in America’s system when you have the insurers making huge profit off of late stage diabetes versus encouraging their clients to be tested yearly and diagnosing/treating it early on.

America’s health care setup is so completely fucked up and illogical.

Judi's avatar

If we added up the amount of money we pay in medical insurance premiums,and co pays, and the medical debt we accrue, and consider THAT number in addition to our tax rate, we are probably already paying a much higher tax rate than a lot of other countries that offer universal health care.

dynamicduo's avatar

It’s true, I should add that my employer offers additional health care coverage for things like prescription drugs and therapy, and dentist stuff. I am subscribed to a plan that covers 80% of the cost, for two people, and it costs me about $5 a month.

Judi's avatar

@dynamicduo; Your employer is probably paying several hundred a month, and although (thankfully for now) it is not taxed, it is still part of your compensation and most employees don’t really realize exactly how much the employer pays to provide that. (That would probably be the only advantage to taxing health insurance. Employees would have a greater appreciation for what they’re getting, and more people would probably get on the universal healthcare bandwagon.)

christine215's avatar

@johnpowell Gee, I guess if I had a dick, I’d feel threatened

Socialism: An “economic, social and political doctrine which expresses the struggle for the equal distribution of wealth by eliminating private property and the exploitative ruling class. In practice, such a distribution of wealth is achieved by social ownership of the means of production, exchange and diffusion”

tell me how Universal Medicine does not fit in that category, and I’ll refrain from further commentary on this subject.

(we already have WELFARE people!, what more do you want?)

Judi's avatar

We have socialized education and socialized police and fire, socialized highways and roads too. Do you propose all roads be privatized and tolled? Do you want to do away with public education? Should we bill crime victims every time they call the police? Some things (like health care) are so important that society needs to ensure access for all.

kheredia's avatar

Yeah, WELFARE has nothing to do with medical assistance now does it? My dad has been in and out of the hospital for the past few months and he doesn’t qualify for medical because of his savings. So this 65 year old man who is disabled and hasn’t worked for 10 years is expected to spend all of his savings in hospital bills. Hurray for America. And thanks for nothing @christine215

I hope your dad never falls ill and is in the same position my dad is in cause by the looks of it you wouldn’t be willing to help him for shit.

Judi's avatar

@kheredia ; Tell him to look into a special needs trust. It is a way to put your money into a trust (but still have access to the money) and still qualify for medicaid. My son is on disability and we put gift money grom his grandma in it.
if you’re in California, check out The Dale Law Firm They are the ones who set up my son’s. He put the money in the Golden State Pooled Trust and I think it cost about $2500.00.

critter1982's avatar

Since when did we decide that it was our “right” to have health insurance? In America we have the rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. These are all rights of action not rewards to be given out, nor obligations on other people. The right to life does not mean that your neighbors have to feed and clothe you; it means you have the right to earn your food and clothe yourself, even if it happens to be a very hard struggle.

@kheredia: I’m sorry to hear that your father has to spend his savings on hospital bills, but I don’t think it is morally responsible for other citizens to be forced to pick up the tab. I had a similar issue with a great friend of mine who took an almost lethal dose of different prescription medicines. He was passed out and not breathing for several hours until somebody found him. He was placed in a hospital, with insurance, fortunately. The insurance company determined that they weren’t seeing enough of an improvement and dropped him from their insurance. What we did was we started some drives at local events. We would invite friends and family to restaurants who would then give percentages of their take-in to help with the medical bills. In my opinion this is how it should be done. People should give willingly not be forced.

Judi's avatar

Right to LIFE!!!! pretty fundamental. People are dieing because they can’t treat disease.

critter1982's avatar

You have the right to act, and to keep the results of your actions, the products you make and keep them or trade them, a right to feed yourself, clothe yourself, and purchase a home if you wish. But you have no right to the actions or products of others, except on terms to which they voluntarily agree. Judi these are all rights of action not reward. We all have the right to life but once you impede the rights of others to sustain that life, it no longer becomes a right and is now a concession. Others have no more right to take my money and spend it on medical bills than I have to take their money and buy a 75” plasma screen.

Judi's avatar

@critter1982 ; you never addressed my question above. Should we privatize roads and charge a toll? Should we charge victims for police and fire protection? Should we axe public schools and make people responsible for educating their kids on their own?

dynamicduo's avatar

@Judi I don’t deny my employer pays money in their bulk purchase of insurance for us. But it’s certainly far far FAR less than the costs any American companies pay, especially when combined with the premiums paid by every working individual (from what I’ve seen they can range anywhere from a few hundred to a thousand dollars a month). And our insurance companies here don’t do things like revoke your insurance because you didn’t tell them about your acne, or make you go to a correct hospital before agreeing to pay, or contesting the charges, etc.

There needs to be a certain level of socialism for society to exist (see, soci -ety). Roads, police, et cetera. Based on the evidence I’ve seen, having basic medicine included in this makes for a more effective and healthier society. At the same time, the evidence I’ve seen also indicates that governments are corrupt and love lying and squandering our tax money (off the top of my head, the e-health scandal here in Ontario, where clients billed the government for consulting themselves and then responding to questions asked, amongst other obviously false and equally BS charges). So I do think there needs to be solutions put in place to prevent this. But letting people die because they can’t afford treatment, or effectively killing them in mountains of debt, is certainly NOT in the theme of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

Im curious…. What makes you guys think that if the government controls our health care, they will not try to control our health, diets, daily habits, and activities? The main objective of health care after “everyone” is covered, will be to minimize costs. This may include charging, or “taxing”, people more who do different things. Ex. A smoker may be taxed more. A snowboarder, or those who participate in “high risk” activities, may be taxed more. It is a downward spiral
Another “way to keep costs down” include using electronic medical records. The “safest” and “most cost efficient” way to do this will be through the use of RFID chips.

We must look at the end, not the beginning. This is opening up a whole new realm of control from the government. I do not want the government in charge of my health care or my health. I do not trust them. They already have their hand in my phone, bank, income, purchases, vehicle, property….. I can go on and on. Leave me and my health alone. . We need doctor/patient relationships, not doctor/insurance co/pharmaceutical co/patient relationships.

I think we are looking for solutions to a problem, without identifying the problem first.

Darwin's avatar

Actually, smokers and snowboarders already pay more if they ever try to get life insurance or private medical insurance. Also anyone with a pre-existing condition or other risky hobby or job.

Judi's avatar

@dynamicduo ; I missed that you are not in the US. I think I got it before but forgot.

critter1982's avatar

@Judi: I don’t see issues with privatizing these things obviously with some controls on them by our government. The less government interference I have in my life the better. IMO the government should be there to protect us from internal and external forces. That’s it.

Since our K-12 is already public should we now increase taxes to pay for people who can’t afford to go to college?

Judi's avatar

@chris6137 ; I think that the government will be more concerned with citizens than insurance companies. They are only concerned with profit. You just made an argument for me against insurance and pharmaceutical companies running the show (status quo) and for government intervention.

Judi's avatar

@critter1982 ; maybe we should. If we have a population that can compete in a global economy we will all be better off. If we keep going the ay we’re going now we will be hard pressed to be a world power in 100 or maybe even 50 years.

dynamicduo's avatar

@chris6137 My government lightly “controls” our health care and they do not presume to infringe on our rights to our diet and activities as you presume, thus I must ask you why you feel that your government would do such a thing in your proposed case. Yes, smokers pay more for their insurance, that is a consequence of them choosing to smoke.

critter1982's avatar

@Judi: But isn’t the idea of America to be free and to not have our government control our lives? This government intervention leads us in one direction, one with more government interaction in our personal lives and one with more restrictions on what we can and cannot do. Personally I like the freedoms I have, and the minimal taxes (relative to some other countries at least) that I have to pay.

Additionally, people not going to college will not be the reason we fall from a world power. IMO, it’s our current mindset that will take us there. It’s our lack of a work ethic and the rewards we gain from that poor work ethic that will take us there. Hell you can fail K-12 and still get a high school degree because the government said we don’t want our children to feel bad about themselves. Then when you get in the real world you can sue your doctor for medical malpractice and earn millions or sue McDonalds because they gave you coffee that was too hot. Well maybe you should have payed attention in highschool English class and how to read Hot on the side of a cup. America needs a new work ethic, one that strictly relies on your own ambitions and wants, not that of our corrupt government officials. These government handouts will only drive us further and further away from where we want to be.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

@dyamic duo

I do not trust my government. Microsoft has developed something called the Microsoft Health Vault. It is a system of electronic record keeping. They have partnered with a company called Verichip. They make RFID-implantable chips. The government has repeatedly mentioned the use of electronic medical records. I believe this will be the reason to install these chips in all humans. The chips will be marketed as for health use, but will be expanded to all aspects of life, including currency. It will be totalitarian control.

This was taken from They Thought They Were Free, by Milton Mayer about Nazi Germany:
“What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.

“This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.

Principiis obsta and Finem respice—‘Resist the beginnings’ and ‘Consider the end.’ But one must foresee the end in order to resist, or even see, the beginnings.

Darwin's avatar

@critter1982 – Well, if the government takes over health care, you won’t be able to sue your doctor and make millions any more. Just like with the IRS, I am sure there will be a law preventing that.

Also, do you really want to go back to having to pay a private company to put out your house fire? How about pay to have your street resurfaced when it needs it? Or pay every time you need to go anywhere on the highway? Or pay for private school because there is no public school? These are all things that Americans decided were not the best ideas to come down the pike, while they still exist in other countries.

cwilbur's avatar

Everyone seems to be focused on how the government will control access to healthcare and determine who gets treatment and who does not.

Where’s the outrage right now at how the health insurance companies currently control access to healthcare and determine who gets treatment and who does not?

Where’s the outrage at all of the working poor who work for companies that simply don’t offer health insurance, but who can’t afford to buy private health insurance and certainly can’t afford to pay out-of-pocket?

Or are all the outrages acceptable because you don’t think they’ll happen to you, because you have insurance or bags of money, and everyone else can go fuck themselves and die in an alley?

All I see is yammering about totalitarianism on behalf of the government, and panicked screeds about the horrors of socialism and welfare. But the system as it exists now is badly broken, and the insurance companies and their shareholders are the ones who really benefit. Only people acting collectively—government—has the power to break the system and remake it into something functional.

Darwin's avatar

And then there is the move to make it illegal to not have health insurance. How does this help families who have too little money to afford insurance but too much to be eligible for state programs as they exist now?

critter1982's avatar

@cwilbur: What gives you such much confidence in the government to fix the issues you talk about? What have you seen the government do, do well, do efficiently, do without alliances, and without issue? If our government was a company they would have gone under a long time ago. Sure they are not there to make a profit, but they don’t even know how to break even. Their answer on how to fix everything is spend more money. That money comes from your pocket and I don’t know about you, but it pisses me off that the taxes I pay aren’t spent wisely. It pisses me off that I put money into social security and I’ll likely never get that back. It pisses me off that we spend trillions of dollars to figure out how to get to the moon while other basic necessities of the government aren’t fullfilled because of a lack of money. It pisses me off that my state government turns to putting money into gambling while privatizing some of our roads. It pisses me off that we spend money on failing companies that have poor management and will likely just fail in the future. It pisses me off that bills get passes with huge sums of money being spent on pork barrel spending. I just don’t understand the mindset that when something goes wrong we look to our government to fix it, when we have seen over and over again a government that is corrupt, inefficient, and racking up huge loads of debt, and one that I have yet to see do something the right way.

Darwin's avatar

If you don’t want the government to do it, then hire Kaiser-Permanente to do it. They’ve been successful for more than 50 years.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

@cwilbur

I agree with you 100% about the real problems of our health care system are the insurance companies and also the pharmaceutical companies. I think we are focusing too much on a quick solution, rather than identifying and facing the problems.

Here is one alternative, along with causes of the problem:
http://www.theroadtoemmaus.org/RdLb/21PbAr/Pl/PaulRHlthCare.htm

The federal government owes $53.3 trillion in unfunded liabilities for Medicare and Social Security. Instead of figuring out how to fund these commitments, the politicians keep promising more spending, especially on health care.

It’s important to understand that government health care spending is the real cause of America’s health care crisis. Government already pays for nearly half of all medical care in this country. This makes government the primary determiner of health care prices . . .

* Bureaucrats decide what the government will pay for any given procedure
* Lobbyists influence the prices the bureaucrats set
* Insurance companies then follow the government’s lead in terms of what they will pay

Health care costs are soaring because the prices are set by bureaucrats and lobbyists, instead of by free market competition.

To better understand how damaging this is just look at what’s happened to the cost and quality of Lasik eye surgery, which isn’t funded by the government, or insurance . . .

According to the federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics the price for Lasik surgery has dropped from $2,106 in 1999 to $1,626 in 2004! The quality has also improved dramatically, even though the cost has fallen.

The same could be true for all health care procedures if prices were set by free market competition, instead of by bureaucrats and lobbyists.

But the problem gets even worse. Government tax polices have created incentives that tie most people’s health insurance policies to their employer. This means “your” insurance companies work for your boss, and not for you. Losing your job could mean a catastrophic loss of medical care.

America’s health care crisis is entirely the creation of the politicians in Congress. And now they want to use the crisis they’ve created to grab still more power and money, at a time when the government is facing a looming bankruptcy.

Congressman Ron Paul has introduced a bill that would solve these problems, immediately. His “Comprehensive Health Care Reform Act” (H.R. 3343) would . . .

* Give you a 100% refund from your taxes of every dollar you spend on medical care, including insurance premiums.
* Make it easier for your employer to deposit the money it now gives to the health insurance companies into a Health Saving Account that would belong to you
* This money would come to you tax free—you could use it to fund your health care and your insurance premiums
* This means your health insurance would belong to you, not your employer
* You would have the money to pay small medical expenses with your Health Savings Account, which would allow you to reduce your insurance premiums by buying a Major Medical Plan, instead of a Cadillac Plan
* You would also earn interest on the money in your Health Savings Account, tax free—you would get this interest instead of the insurance companies getting it (collecting interest on premiums is how the insurance companies make their money—these profits could be yours instead)
* Plus, you would become your doctor’s customer, instead of the government or your insurance company being your doctor’s customer
* This would place the consumer in charge, creating competition that would lower prices and improve quality

Darwin's avatar

“Give you a 100% refund from your taxes of every dollar you spend on medical care, including insurance premiums.”

I don’t pay enough taxes to cover that refund, and I already get to deduct insurance premiums because I am self-employed. Also, no employer pays anything to an insurance company except for me, myself, and I, so how would that create a useful HSA?

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

@Darwin
The first point is to get government out to bring down the costs, so you’re not paying the high amount you pay now. The fact that you are self-employed puts you in the minority. The point is the deduction for all Americans. The fact that the employer no longer has to pay your health benefits, will allow them to pay you more, allowing you more control of your money, HSA, and health care.

Judi's avatar

@critter1982 , so public roads are more important than public health care?

critter1982's avatar

@Judi: I’m not so sure where you got that from?

Val123's avatar

Yes. It just amazes me how loud and vocal the opponents are, yet it polls like these, the overwhelming majority of the people are for it. We have plenty of government funded organizations within our government. Public schools, for one. Police and fire for another. It doesn’t make us a socialist nation.

critter1982's avatar

@Val123: For me in particular, I’m not concerned about the whole socialist aspect. I’m concerned about the cost, where it’s coming from, where it’s going, and the amount of money coming from Medicare which is supposed to subsidize it. I’m also concerned that our president stated we could almost fully support this program with inefficiencies in the Medicare program. This is either one of two things, a flat out lie, or almost $800 billion worth of inefficiencies in Medicare. If it’s a flat out lie, then the President probably has a reason he isn’t telling you where the money is coming from and if our Medicare is that inefficient, what makes us think a government run program is even going to work?

Val123's avatar

@critter1982 It works in other countries. Also, Medicare and Medicaid have been efficient, in my experience. I have concerns about where the money is going to come from, too, but something has GOT to be done. The privatized insurance sector is a bloody mess. We spend twice as much per person every year on health care than any other civilized nation, yet our actual health is worse. If our current system works, how is it that we can be 14th in the world in infant mortality??

zzc's avatar

Insurance companies, presently, deny insurance to people with health problems, that the co. feels will cost them money. Or, they charge hugh premiums. People who are healthy and have insurance, feel secure, until they get sick, and find the insurance co.‘s find reasons to not cover the the medical costs. It is a reality, in the U.S., that both people with, and without insurance, are going bankrupt, losing their homes, because of medical bills. A person who has coverage through their job, develops a medical problem and is covered, but then if they lose their job, would lose their insurance and thus the coverage of the med. prob. Their med. prob. would then become a “preexisting condition” and insurance co.‘s wouldn’t cover it. Our government is changing this, so that you can continue your insurance, your med prob. would be covered. Insurance co.‘s will not be able to deny coverage for preexisting conditions. People who go bankrupt and lose their homes are costing the population money by using welfare, food stamps etc. to survive. Many, many of these people were hard working, good tax paying citizens, but were laid low from catastrophic medical expenses. They never thought they would find themselves in that position. They may even have shared views, like those expressed here, that everyone should be responsible for their own expenses. It had to be made a law to have insurance to be able to drive, so that if you hit someone, all the cost would not be on the victim. People would not voluntarily get insurance to be prepared for costs they were responsible for. I look at mandatory medical insurance the same way. Unfortunately people just don’t always act responsibly. There would be plans for people who financially cannot afford the mandatory insurance. The way things are right now, people protest, ” having to pay more taxes to cover other people, in the future.” They don’t realize they are paying now, through their insurance premiums, and medical costs, to make up for those that do not pay their bills- like uninsured drivers when they hit you. And in wait time in the overrun ER’s. If there is a larger pool, the liability is spread out more and the cost is actually lower than presently. If people have access to health care, preventative health care can keep people healthier, or identify med. prob. earlier and keep the costs down. Presently, people go without preventative care and go to the ER“s when the are really sick ( or are actually dying from lack of care) and if there isn’t insurance, and they can’t pay, the costs are passed on. We are one of the last, if not the last, industrialized countries to not have a program in place to give their citizens access to health care. The U.S. pays more for medical costs than those other countries, it doesn’t make sense. It is not the wise use of our taxes, and that’s the present state of affairs. A healthy population does better in school is a more productive work force, better able to be innovative, creating more jobs, lose less time off the job because of health problems, etc. A national program helps streamline costs and brings down the over head of such a program. The people who are funding hugh campaigns of fear mongering, are the insurance companies who are threatened with not continuing to make the obscene amount of profits they are making right now, off the American public.

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