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Friday, July 31, 2009

Why The Health Care Bill Can't Work

The President and the Democratic leadership in congress have been working extensively to get the White House's health care bill passed before the August recess, and for now it seems like they'll have to wait. This is wonderful news for all Americans and I'll tell you why.

First of all, people like to say that the objective of this bill is to cut health care costs. Proponents cite statistics that claim that the high cost of health care is because of excessive administrative costs and inflated prices, and that a single-payer system would cut these costs immensely and reduce health care prices for everyone. This is simply impossible. Even if the government were to somehow be less wasteful and more efficient than the insurance companies, you cannot increase the demand for health care (by having everyone insured) without increasing the supply (more doctors and hospitals) and expect costs to stay the same. The only way to offset the costs of this new demand is to ration care- precisely what happens in countries that already have government-funded health care. The people that would need care the most will be disregarded as being too expensive to heal.

Another provision that will inevitably make costs skyrocket is forcing insurers to cover treatment for preexisting conditions. Obviously people with preexisting conditions should have access to affordable care, but having this care covered under insurance will mean it is being used all the time. Insurers don't insure preexisting conditions because the customers they cover would be sicker overall, making everyone under the plan pay more. The fact that these preexisting conditions require constant care means that they could be much better treated through the market. Since there is constant demand for treatment, health care providers will compete to have people with preexisting conditions choose them for treatment- usually by being the most affordable.

That being said, the true purpose of this bill is to get everyone insured, regardless of the cost. In fact, the most infuriating thing about this bill is the penalty tax that would be levied on those who don't have a private insurer and don't get this new plan after it would pass. This provision is a blatantly regressive tax that will only hurt our poorest citizens, especially since the administration has admitted that there would still be millions left uninsured even with this plan in effect.

The real reason for the high cost of health care is the minimum coverage mandated by the states. As a result, health insurance isn't like other insurance. Where true insurance is supposed to cover unexpected costs, the states have forced health insurance to cover routine doctor visits and tests. Since everyone is using the insurance all the time, costs go up. Some states mandate coverage for procedures that many find ineffective, like chiropractic care or acupuncture. New York and New Jersey mandate maternity coverage for everyone- even if you're a single male. All of this unnecessary coverage is what's making costs so high. If people were able to personalize their plans and cover only what they need, it would cut costs tremendously.

In the end, it is precisely the government who is at fault for the high cost of health care, and making them more involved will only make things worse. If the government can provide affordable, quality medical coverage for all Americans, let them prove it by providing it to our veterans.

1 comment:

  1. You didn't do your research. I'm a primary care physician and chiropractic care is just as successful as most surgical treatments and cost a lot less. I'm not saying acupuncture is, but chiropractic physicians are mine and my patients best friends.