I have had a number of discussions with people on this very topic (no kidding?), so I thought I'd put them to a post:
The plan isn't a government takeover: This much is true for now. Right now, there isn't a specific takeover of insurance companies or the like. But that is simply a matter of time. Insurance companies are now directed, by matter of law, to provide coverage for all people. They will be directed to cover minimum services, and the government will tell them what they can charge. Just as doctors are directed by Medicare as to how much they can charge, the insurance companies will also be so directed (remember, as Vice President Biden has said You know we're going to control the insurance companies.) No one can seriously believe that sort of heavy-handed regulation and direction by the government won't come with a steep price.
Insurance companies are businesses, and they answer to their shareholders. Once profits begin to tank because of these regulations, the investors will turn elsewhere. The companies will either become partially/wholly owned by the government (think how well FANNIE MAE did!), or will fold, leaving their policy holders in the hands of the few surviving companies that become part of the government.
No, it's not a government takeover today. But in time it will be.
Individual mandate: OK, let's assume that through some sort of myopic miracle of Liberalism, let's pretend the constitutionality of this absurd mandate - as if the government can force me to purchase something -- survives judicial scrutiny (hey, the Supreme Court has upheld other bone-headed laws in the past).
The government plans to cap premiums based on income. Right off the bat, they will arbitrarily tell the private companies what they can charge for their insurance products. So going back to my first point, regardless of what it costs to deliver insurance, the government is going to tell the company how much it can charge the customer. Talk about a recipe for fiscal disaster!
And then in 4 years, when no one with pre-existing conditions can be denied, and the caps are still maintained by the government do you really think investors in insurance companies will watch their portfolios continue to dwindle??
Medicare will still continue to (under)pay for services, but they will also begin cost controls. Right, so just as my parents know of friends whose physicians have dropped Medicare, and just as the pediatrician of my own kids have announced they are dropping Medicaid, the number of doctors who accept these public plans will also dwindle. Who the hell is going to treat all these patients??
I am old enough to have lived through Liberal's running America before, and history is full of other examples. The trouble with their agendas is that they give away unprecedented amount of so-called entitlements, as if they are a birth right, and the masses suddenly believe the lies that they are entitled to them.
Here's a simple test to determine what is or isn't a right:
Can you buy the right to free speech? I'm not talking about being able to get airtime on TV or publish a book, but the right - the right - to speech can it be bought?
Can you buy the right to free press?
Can you buy the right to assemble? To exercise your religious faith?
I can go on, but you get my idea. You cannot 'purchase' any of those rights.
Can you purchase health insurance? Don't give me Well Charlie, some people can't afford it. Stick to the issue: can you buy health insurance?
The answer is: yes. You can buy insurance, you can buy health care... you can buy anything you want in a free market. Insurance is not a right; you are not entitled to it because of your birth or citizenship.
Once the mandate is turned aside the primary source of funding for this legislation, and the law is defanged. The only alternative is oppressive taxes at least that's back in the hands of the legislative branch.
My hope is that this law will be overturned before the numbers of doctors that are fleeing the present-day system doesn't reach such a high level that it endangers the people who need the care, or that insurance companies don't get out of the business because they're unable to compensate for the paltry caps put upon them by bureaucrats who wouldn't know profit if it bit them.
Should there be health insurance reforms? Damn straight there should be, but this mess is far from what is needed to control costs. When the government mandated that all hospitals must treat all people WITHOUT regard for who would pay for it, the hospitals did the only thing they could: they passed the costs on to the rest of us. WE pay more for our services - whether out of own pocket or through insurance - and the costs go up and up. When the abuse of torts means people can sue for millions even for a minor mistake, we end up paying for that doctor's mistake. When a doctor is told by Medicare we'll reimburse you $60 for that procedure you normally charge $300 the rest of us pay for that difference. Maybe the procedure costs $200, but the doctor charges us $300 to make up the loss.
Should people be forced to buy insurance? Hell no; if I were a single, odds are I'd have a catastrophic policy and pay for everything else out-of-pocket why should I pay for a policy that includes, for example, maternity care if I am a single guy?
Why should I be limited to only those policies that are granted permission to operate in my state? If I want to buy a car in Delaware, for example, because I happen to know the dealer there is in a better position to sell cars than the one in Pennsylvania, I'll go there (yes, yes, I would pay PA taxes on the sale, of course). Why can't I buy a policy in another state, perhaps one without so many additional mandated clauses, that would be cheaper for me?
Through private enterprise, through normal charity efforts of doctors and pharmaceuticals, there are plenty of non-governmental avenues in addition to Medicare/Medicaid for people to obtain the care they need. Reform does not attack the engines that drive the medical economy, as this new law does, but instead helps make those engines and private initiatives thrive.
But no that's not the intent of this law. This law's purpose is to make us more dependent on the government. THAT is the end game.
And heaven help us all if this abusive law isn't overturned soon!
♦DiggIt! ♦Add to del.icio.us ♦Add to Technorati Faves ♦ Facebook