Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Health Care Debate

This is a letter I sent to the Indianapolis Star, the New York Times, the Omaha World-Herald, the LA Times, CBS and my representatives in Congress, Ben Nelson, Mike Johanns and Lee Terry.

My name is Dave Campbell. I am a private citizen that is sick and tired of this debacle of health care reform. No true debate is going on. We have Democrats looking to take over more of the economy, weak Republicans with no solid ideas of their own, a partisan press and an apathetic electorate.Health care has been an issue for years. We have huge costs for coverage and care providers. Some people are shut out by the private insurers because of pre-existing conditions. Jackpot justice in the courts drives up costs incredibly. Seriously, the door handles on court rooms should be changed to slot machine handles. It would be more appropriate. Politicians have blathered on about reform but only recently have they gotten serious.

The plans put forth by our so-called leaders, however, don’t address these issues. They only create new problems and shift the burden of paying to all of us, even those of us that have private insurance.

President Obama wants health care reform at all costs. He and the Democrats are pushing with everything they have to nationalize approximately 17% of the U.S. gross domestic product (1). This is a huge issue but they want to rush it. Obama says the reforms would bring greater "inefficiencies" (2) to the health care system. Assuming that was a Freudian slip and he didn't really mean that, let's look at the federal government's track record.

Let's keep in mind here that most of these politicians, including Obama, have NO EXECUTIVE EXPERIENCE running private industry. Profit and watching costs are not something these people are used to. "Budget" is just a buzz word because they will spend what they want, no matter what the original plan. Name one government program that not grown over the years. Name one government program that has closed down because it accomplished its goal.

The government intended Amtrak to be a for-profit enterprise but it has yet to achieve that goal. In 2007, the government decided to quit hoping Amtrak could ever turn a profit (3). The post office has had many rate hikes over the years and yet still cannot operate efficiently. It has been looking at closing offices and ending Saturday delivery (4).

How well has the government done at health care for our veterans? How many people remember the terrible conditions found at VA hospitals? Broken wheelchairs, mice, torn robes and mold at Walter Reed. Fruit flies, overflowing trash and syringes in the open at Naval Medical Center in San Diego. Peeling paint, mold, non-working windows and no nurses at Fort Knox (5).

The costs involved in these reform proposals is staggering. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the legislation would cost $1.3 trillion during its first decade: $438 billion for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, $53 billion in tax credits for small businesses that offer health insurance to their employees, and $773 billion in subsidies for a government-administered "insurance exchange" in which people could choose among various health plans, including a newly created "public option." Also keep in mind that government spending, especially on health care programs, tends to be much higher than anticipated. "When Medicare was launched in 1965," note Cato Institute policy analysts Michael Tanner and Chris Edwards, "Part A was projected to cost $9 billion by 1990, but ended up costing $67 billion. When Medicaid's special hospitals subsidy was added in 1987, it was supposed to cost $100 million annually, but it already cost $11 billion by 1992." (6)

Supporters point to countries like Canada and Great Britain to show that socialized medicine works. Canada, however, is moving back to a single-payer system because their experience has been so awful. Long waits extending to YEARS, bureaucrats deciding treatment and more. Private insurance is outlawed. Great Britain and Europe have their own problems, where state-of-the-art drugs are not available to patients. In 2003, 15,000 elderly people died in France during a heat wave because many doctors were on vacation and hospitals were overflowing. (7)

The American Medical Association is not on board with all of this. “The A.M.A. does not believe that creating a public health insurance option for non-disabled individuals under age 65 is the best way to expand health insurance coverage and lower costs. The introduction of a new public plan threatens to restrict patient choice by driving out private insurers, which currently provide coverage for nearly 70 percent of Americans.” (8) And yet Nancy Pelosi is adamant about a public plan. “A bill will not come out of the House without a public option,” she said (9). The Mayo Clinic, long a darling of liberals and progressives, is also against it (10).

Some people, myself included, say this public option will run private insurers out of business (11). Health insurance is a major expense for businesses so when a public option at half the price comes along, how many businesses will remain loyal to their providers? (12)

While the Democrats are happily plotting to make government even bigger, the Republicans have not put forth any real reforms. Anything they put forth sounds an awful lot like the Democratic plans. Instead of addressing the fundamental problems they propose more government interference. Really, I can't tell which party is more pro-government.

Just as bad as the politicians in this are the media. When it comes to covering Obama, you act like giddy cheerleaders ogling the star quarterback. Change into some dry shorts and ask yourselves if he wants you for you or for what you can do for him. Is it any wonder newspapers are going bankrupt and trust for newscasters is so low? I can put together an article with all kinds of sources but you can't seriously dig and investigate. You're supposed to be watchdogs, not lapdogs. Do us a favor and go back to journalism school to learn the basics, you worthless partisan hacks.

The only real chance for reform that isn't going to negatively affect us is going to have to come from the American public. Let's face it, the politicians only care about the next election. Doing the right thing is only an option if it will get them elected. If you want them to do the right thing, you need to get in touch with your representatives and let them know. Get the facts on your own; the press isn't going to do it for you.

Buy your KY now and pray Obama Care covers proctologists, because we’re all going to need it if this legislation passes.

1. The National Coalition on Health Care (2009). Facts About Health Care

Retrieved July 24, 2009, from http://www.nchc.org/facts/cost.shtml

2. Obama, Barack (2009, July 20)
Retrieved July 24, 2009, from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-by-the-President-on-Health-Care-at-Childrens-Hospital/

3. Policy Archive (June 2002). "Amtrak Profitability: An Analysis of Congressional Expectations at Amtrak's Creation"
Retrieved July 24, 2009, from https://www.policyarchive.org/handle/10207/1446

4. Big Money, The (2009, June 26). "Could Your Post Office Be Closing?"
Retrieved July 24, 2009, from http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Extra/could-your-post-office-be-closing.aspx

5. Priest, Dana and Hull, Anne (2007, March 5). "It's Not Just Walter Reed". The Washington PostRetrieved July 24, 2009, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/04/AR2007030401394.html

6. Sullum, Jacob (2009, July 22). "Paying a Premium for Insurance". Reason Online.
Retrieved July 24, 2009, from http://www.reason.com/news/show/134948.html

7. Gratzer, David (2007). "The Ugly Truth About Canadian Health Care"
Retrieved July 24, 2009, from http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_3_canadian_healthcare.html

8. Pear, Robert (2009, June 10). "Doctors' Group Opposes Public Insurance Plan", The New York Times
Retrieved July 24, 2009, from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/11/us/politics/11health.html?_r=2&hp

9. Pear, Robert (2009, June 10). "Doctors' Group Opposes Public Insurance Plan", The New York Times
Retrieved July 24, 2009, from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/11/us/politics/11health.html?_r=2&hp

10. "Mayo Clinic's Reaction to House Tri-Committee Bill", The Mayo Clinic. (2009, July 16)
Retrieved July 24, 2009, from http://healthpolicyblog.mayoclinic.org/2009/07/16/mayo-clinic%E2%80%99s-reaction-to-house-tri-committee-bill/

11. "Critics Question Obama's Assertion No One Would Be Forced to Change Health Plans", Fox News (2009, July 23).
Retrieved July 24, 2009, from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/07/23/obamas-assertion-public-current-health-insrance-plans-raises-questions/

12. "It's Not an Option". The Investor's Business Daily (2009, July 15)
Retrieved July 24, 2009, from http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=332548165656854

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