Monday, August 17, 2009

A Government Option Becomes the Only Option

President Obama is out and about, traveling through the Southwestern states, attempting to convince Americans of the validity of his health care reform ideas. If you’ve been following the news at all you know that many of these town-hall meetings with the President and state senators aren’t going overly well. People are getting angry, so much so that these events have turned into shouting matches. While I am all for disagreements being handled in a civil manner, I can’t entirely blame people for being angry.

Health insurance is already too expensive and is expected to become even more expensive! Anyone who thinks through the consequences of instituting a national health insurance company for 47 million people knows that no private insurance company can hope to compete with the government! Why is this so? Because no insurance company in the United States insures 47 million people! The government will literally put private insurance companies out of business. I’ve wondered what the insurance company I work for will do if and when a national insurance company comes about – I can’t speak dogmatically at this point, but I am willing to bet that we’ll pull out of dealing with health insurance altogether.

Obama claims that he can provide health insurance for 47 million uninsured Americans – and all who desire to switch to the government option – while only taxing the “wealthiest Americans,” and on top of all this the costs of health care will be reduced. How in the world is he going to accomplish all this? Does anyone seriously believe that by taxing the super rich we can cover the enormous costs of health care for 47 million people? Doesn’t it seem logical that health care costs will increase because the bill will no longer be through private companies but now the bill would be sent to the government with a seemingly endless supply of money?

Do you know the worst part about this plan? 47 million people would just be the beginning of who utilizes this government insurance. Large corporations would stop providing private insurance deals because “well, we’re already being taxed by the government for insurance … why not use that instead?” I cannot even begin to imagine the domino effect this would have on the insurance and health care industry. Eventually, the government would end up as the majority insurance provider to which most Americans would become dependent on. Taxes would increase if the government insures 47 million people; I don’t think we are ready to consider how much taxes would increase to pay for 300+ million people. The potential costs are staggering.

Sunday afternoon I read an article in The New York Times that explained the story of an English gentleman who needed to make an appointment with a doctor. He called his government approved doctor’s office to make an appointment, and they estimated they could see him in 4 months. FOUR MONTHS! But then he informed them, “Oh, I’m a private, not a public, patient.” The receptionist responded, “Terrific! We can fit you in tomorrow.” England’s national health insurance has been the most important cause to decrease the quality of their health care. The English government has limited funds and therefore must ration health care to the extent that wait times are outrageously long. But as we see in this instance, those who choose to use private insurance are able to achieve quality care in a timely manner.

It is one thing to want every citizen to have health insurance. But using the government is not the answer. What we really need is meaningful health care and health insurance reform that will allow transitions for policies between jobs and/or insurance companies. I think it’s time for our President to consider reforming the private sector rather than increasing nationwide government dependence. I think the President is beginning to see how unpopular his plan is amongst the average citizen. One can only hope.


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