We deserve Health Choice just like School Choice

The Census Bureau’s official estimate for 2007 was that 45.7 million lacked health insurance at any point in time throughout the year. Given the rate of job losses in our country one would have to expect that number to rise for this year. Of the uninsured 26% are eligible for some form of public coverage but do not use it (according to The National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation). Another 21% of the uninsured are aliens (according to the Kaiser Family Foundation), although it is worth noting that this figure includes both legal and illegal aliens. And finally, twenty percent of the uninsured have incomes greater than $75,000.

So lets make those numbers clear: Those who advocate for “universal” coverage are those advocating for: 1. The Wealthy 2. Aliens 3. People who qualify and don’t bother. That covers 67% of the uninsured by the most reliable measure. So if you’re NOT advocating for these groups, then you’re advocating changing the ENTIRE HEALTH SYSTEM for the 1/3 of the uninsured. But a bill before Congress would attack one of the key limitations to finding Health Insurance that works for you. Written by a phyisician, the bill would allow anyone to buy health insurance over the interent from anywhere in the country.

Now, I know I am going to be amazed at the number of people who come on to this BLOG and say “NO GOOD! Too much choice will destroy Health Care! There’ll be a race to the bottom to undermine those in frail health!”

The question is, dear reader, are you going to believe scare tactics like this? Are you going to continue to listen to people interested in nothing more than expanding the status quo? Are you going to listen to people who, when they hear that your employer should be able to purchase a health care plan just for the individual, they are ready with the rhetorical line “that LIMITS your rights and options!” Are you going to listen to people who spout statistics about people going into bankruptcy and losing their homes to medical costs when three of every four Americans forced into medical-related bankruptcies HAD HEALTH INSURANCE. When they talk about waste and fraud are you going to point out that a government option means spending tax dollars and THAT means spending .25 of every 1$ in taxes JUST TO COLLECT THEM. And thats before ANYTHING is ever done and a single penny is EVER SPENT!

The plan avoids expanding the federal role in overseeing the health insurance industry. Unlike Democratic proposals, it would not set up new federally regulated purchasing pools for individuals and small businesses. It would offer tax deductions and tax credits to help make the purchase of health insurance more affordable for individuals. It would provide grants to states to help set up high-risk pools for people with medical problems who are denied coverage by commercial insurers. And it would allow employers to automatically sign workers up for the company’s coverage — similar to what’s done with 401(k) retirement plans.

The bill would also take on medical malpractice, limiting jury awards for pain and suffering and creating new health courts in which a specially trained judge would hear and decide cases involving medical negligence would go a long way towards reducing malpractice insurance which is crushing entrepreneurship in doctors. This would free up the health industry’s ability to innovate without burdensome costs.

With the vote on Health Reform turned back until the Fall, lawmakers will get a chance to come home and hear directly from their constituents on what kind of changes they want. If Democrats and Liberals want to get serious about Health Reform and not just Socialized Medicine, they will quit scaring citizens about having more choices and more freedom.

Tort reform certainly isn’t on the Obama agenda. The Left is beholden to Trial Lawyers. The legislature needs to be reminded about the needs of the people. Enough pandering to business looking to unload their health plans. And Unions are stopping a key component of lowering costs by opposing taxing health benefits which means the Left is just going to have to look for other places to hide the costs. If the average worker is responsible for the costs, they might just notice how much it doesnt work.

Their real goal in the end is to argue that people should be required to purchase insurance. That just shouldn’t sell. Auto insurance is about protecting you from someone else. Health Insurance is about protecting you from yourself. Are you going to stand for someone saying that to you?

About Terry Crowley