On Healthcare

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” – 10th Amendment, U.S. Constitution

Well, there has been a lot of discussion by our politicians regarding healthcare. Unfortunately, the discussion does not seem to include any of us. As one who has had a recent experience with a family member being in the hospital, I personally understand how frustrating it can get working with insurance companies, as well as with doctors who practice defensive medicine.

I am all for some sort of healthcare reform. But do not mistake that as a complaint about the quality of American medical care. Americans have access to healthcare resources that most countries only dream about. However, the cost for that care is getting ridiculous. My husband and I, like many Americans, have had to not only worry about the types of treatment available but also the costs of said treatments. Americans need to do something, but we have to do the right thing, and do it with some common sense. Unfortunately, the healthcare bill that is being voted on this week does not do either. 

As one who gets a medical bill in her mailbox at least once a week, I know a thing or two about healthcare waste: I have found hundreds of dollars in errors on those bills. How much money would we all save if people bothered to merely to check those statements and do some simple math? How many of those costly tests are actually needed, or are merely the doctors covering their butts to avoid future lawsuits (often to the discomfort of their patients). A little tort reform could go a long way to both drive down costs and improve the experience of the patients.

But the main problem I have with the current healthcare bill is that it is not founded on a single constitutional principle whatsoever. Not to mention the fact that is not fiscally sound either (anything that needs 10 years to pay for 6 years of service is an underwater proposition from the start). You see, in order to overcome the increased cost of health insurance to cover pre-existing conditions, you have to expand the pool of covered persons, i.e. mandate that all people purchase health insurance. Healthy people’s premiums are needed to offset the cost and risk to cover the unhealthy people. But, that very mandate violates the Constitution (see 10th Amendment above). Nowhere in the U.S Constitution is the government granted power to force people to buy something or be penalized via taxes. According to the Congressional Budget Office, “the government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States. An individual mandate would have two features that, in combination, would make it unique. First, it would impose a duty on individuals as members of society. Second, it would require people to purchase a specific service that would be heavily regulated by the federal government.” Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse. Given the government’s track record of fiscal recklessness and unsound economic principles (not to mention the need to know our personal business), I think we need to scrap this boondoggle and start over. Let’s start with things that won’t cost taxpayers money, create hundreds of new government bureaucracies and regulations, give the government access to my medical history, or play political favorites, such as maybe opening up competition across state lines and doing some tort reform. Why don’t we see how these work first before we waste a trillion dollars on ideas thought up by politicians that have never run a business in their lives, kept a government program solvent, or successfully balanced a budget? And by the way, using debt to float expenses does not count as successfully balancing a budget!

The government has proven to us enough times that they have no clue on how to manage our money responsibly, or how to make sure a government program started will stay within the predicted cost (i.e. Medicare and Social Security are both in the red). As my grandma used to say, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”. How many more times does the American taxpayer have to be fooled before we realize that the government is a poor steward of both our prosperity and our liberty? Americans shouldn’t have to swallow a load of manure in order to get to a few pieces of chocolate. That just isn’t healthy.

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