It is now clear that Congress and the president’s top priority for 2009 is health care reform. Since the collapse of Hillary-Care in 1994, Democrats have been working to re-plan and re-package a government takeover of your health insurance.
This year, they’re hoping to get their chance. Last month, Senator Ted Kennedy offered a glimpse of what they have in mind when called for the creation an optional, “public health insurance plan, where coverage is provided in the public interest.”
That may sound nice, but in one sentence, it describes everything that is wrong with a government take-over of American health care.
Health care, by definition, can’t be provided in the public interest because no doctor has ever seen “the public.” Doctors see patients: one at a time, providing personal care in the patient’s interest only.
Now, if you listen to the ongoing debate about health care reform, you hear a common theme, especially from those who favor a government take-over.
They talk a lot more about costs than they do about care. Only here’s the thing: the government is the reason that costs are spiraling out of control now. Government now covers 100 million Americans, and costs are exploding. Under the proposed takeover, 130 million more will be added to government health programs. How can they expect to get costs under control by doubling the government’s role in health care?
The answer is by rationing care. If government wants to cover 230 million Americans and bring down costs, the only way it can possibly do it is denying care to people whose health care is deemed – you guessed it – not in the public interest.
Under similar schemes in Canada and Great Britain, people wait weeks to see their doctors, months to see specialists, and years to get routine procedures and treatments. High-tech tests and breakthrough medicines are off-limits because the government decides – in the public interest – that they are too expensive.
When the late actress Natasha Richardson suffered her skiing accident in Canada this spring, the hospital didn’t have an MRI machine. The doctors never knew her injuries were life-threatening… until it was too late.
That’s how a government take-over of your health care will try to get costs under control: cheap, outdated treatments, long waiting lists, and low-tech hospitals. It won’t take long before families realize the true costs of such a plan aren’t counted in dollars and sense.
Instead of the government-controlled “public option,” we should move toward a “personal option,” where we help individuals and families buy and own their own health insurance plan that no government can ever take-over or take away.
Health care is personal and private. It should be administered by doctors and nurses in their patient’s interest, not the interests of politicians and bureaucrats in Washington.
Because never forget: any law that empowers government to provide health care in the public interest implicitly empowers government to deny it for the same reason.
I plan to play a big part in the health care debate this summer, and my website will be a clearinghouse for information about the issue as it develops. Feel free to check in often, as new content will be added every week. And to help you stay informed, I’ll be in touch frequently as the health care and other debates move forward.
Thanks very much, and God bless.
U.S. Senator, South Carolina
On behalf of thinking people in South Carolina, I deeply apologize for this person being allowed in public office. We are working to correct the situation.