Because this administration has a hard and fast rule against pinning anything on the Donkey, US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Kathleen Sebelius, has invented a new game. It involves putting lipstick on the pig that is Obama Care. Because HHS and just about every other acronym laden bureau in Washington has tried and failed at this task, HHS has placed on its website a contest open to the public. The contest is to produce a song, cartoon, video clip or any other sort of fairy tale extolling the virtues of Obama Care to the young and encouraging them to sign up before the administration has to stage an armed raid on the treasury. They best hurry.
The fact that it takes a multimillion dollar program for the government to award a $30,000 prize should tell any thinking person why a government program to manage the delivery of health care is a dangerous folly. The great advantage, we are told, is the anticipated savings you will receive on your health care costs. According to the statists, it should cost only a fraction of what it used to cost if, of course, you are willing to consider five halves to be a fraction. The only down side seems to be that you will die sooner and in pain. Democrat statists assure us this is a small price to pay for the health care savings. The money saved can be directed into all sorts of vote buying schemes. In spite of hyperbolic claims by some conservatives, we are all but assured Obama Care will have a success rate rivaling that of soviet agriculture or the old soviet automotive industry.
Fortunately, we are reassured that as soon as this congress returns from its half decade vacation, Obama Care will be repealed and defunded. What a relief! Of course, already, the Pravda-like American media is demanding a Republican plan (read big government program) to replace the obviously failing Obama Care. Sadly, some elected Republican congressmen will fall for this ploy. In the mind of the statist, any plan not of government origin is shrouded with the cloak of invisibility. They will not see it nor will they report on it. So with the assurance we can fly beneath their radar, let’s explore some plans the Republicans might propose.
My favorite radical Republican plan involves a patient and a doctor, where the patient goes to see a doctor and pays this doctor for the services rendered to the patient. The obvious simplicity in this plan is the small number of people involved. This keeps costs to a minimum. What they seldom mention about complex government health care plans is that each person involved in a patient’s care expects to be paid for their time and talent. This seems reasonable as each of us expects to be paid for our work. But also obvious is the more people involved, the more expensive the care becomes.
The first and most obvious addition to the very simple and efficient plan offered above is to add insurance. This, of course, drives health care costs up a bit, but the additional cost may be worthwhile if it comes with the assurance that your health care costs are capped at some point. In other words, although the average cost of health care for each insured person will go up, the chances that health care costs will ruin your life are greatly reduced. This is what insurance is supposed to provide you. Beyond this, I can think of nothing government can do which will actually reduce costs. But there is a lot government can do to increase costs.
Every government regulation comes with a regulator who must be paid. The brakes on your car are a regulator. They never make the car move faster or more efficiently. This is not what regulators do. The faucet on your sink is a regulator. It neither causes more water to be delivered than would be delivered without the faucet nor does it cause the water to be delivered more efficiently. These are control mechanisms. To assert that government regulation will make more health care available or make it more efficient is to fail to understand the nature and history of regulation. To assert that a government control mechanism is necessary assumes that there are no other or no better controls available. It assumes the doctor is not qualified to make reasonable suggestions to the patient regarding the patient’s health care and that the patient is incapable of taking in this information and using it to make informed decisions based on it. What the left never explains is why they make these assumptions and why we should consider them to be reasonable. Where is the evidence to support this claim? Until the left can make this case, I suggest we take Nancy Regan’s advice and, “Just say no.”
Over regulation of the insurance industry has fewer providers allowed to operate in any one state. This reduces competition and provides monopoly status to a few government favored providers. This is what regulators do. Fascism grows in this fertile soil. Again there is an assumption that the consumers of the insurance product are incapable of making decisions regarding their own care. Again, where is the evidence for this? Just say no. The left was horrified at the notion that Medicaid and Medicare be privatized. They cannot concede that the person experiencing symptoms and his doctor might be in a better position than a federal regulator, thousands of miles away, to recommend a proper course of treatment. What is common sense to the common man is not only uncommon in Washington, it is rare.
Free markets, with individuals acting in their own best interest, consistently produce more good for more people than any regulated system. Republicans must not only embrace free markets, they must be able to understand them and to articulate their common sense message. Any Republican who is incapable of completing this one simple task must be retired and replaced. To free market solutions, just say yes.