I’ve been getting quite a bit of response on the health care issue, and I want to clarify a few things. First, many people seem to think that the choice is either the current system as it is or the government option. Even President Obama was touting this popular perception in his press conference today saying, “I think in this debate there’s been some notion that if we just stand pat we’ll be ok, and that’s just not true.” NO ONE is saying “Let’s just leave it the way it is.” Pretty much everyone agrees that the system needs to be reformed. The problem is that most people don't understand that we are not faced with a choice between the “current free-market system” and a government-run system. One very important thing to note is that our current system is not a free market system. Yes, it is more free than a 100% government controlled system, but it’s not a true free market. People make the assumption that it is, but the truth is that it is HIGHLY regulated. Many of these regulations contribute significantly to the rising costs of health care. Some of the regulations need to stay, but many of them need to go. A prime example is the restriction that prevents us from buying health insurance across state lines. You can buy a policy in Iowa for $99, but if you turn around and buy that same policy in New York City it will cost almost $400. Does that make sense? Heck no! Do you think there are a few thousand people in NYC that could afford a $99 policy but cannot afford a $400 one? The bottom line is that we all want the same thing: access to health care.
I am not saying that the government should not play any role in health care and the regulation of the industry. Government does have a place in certain areas. The problem is that the government has imposed so much bureaucracy on the health care system that it’s driving up the cost of health care. The government doesn’t need to get out of health care entirely. Their focus just needs to be adjusted to the right areas, and we need to see a thoughtful deregulation process take place. If, together, we can really dive into the issues, peel back the multiple layers of this complicated issues and put aside the “oh she’s a liberal and thinks ‘X’ way” or “here we go, typical conservative….” thoughts, then I’m willing to bet we could hammer out a system that would please us all. We all agree that the current system needs to be reformed, but “reform” doesn’t mean “let the government run it.” There are PLENTY of viable options out there that are better than the government “option” so let’s explore them a bit.
It’s going to take me a few articles, but in the end you will get the full picture of the following:
1. Why the current system is not working
2. Why government control of health care is not the best solution
3. Why the government’s “option” is not an option at all
4. Why the government’s objective isn’t really health care for everyone
5. Why the government’s system simply won’t work
6. Solutions to the current problems that will help achieve our collective goal of increasing access to health care and health insurance
Folks, we can do this, and we can do it with more than just the health care issue. What it takes is first putting aside our preconceived notions of “the other side” and truly learning about the issues. Were you even aware that we aren’t allowed to buy insurance across state lines? Did you know that your state requires you to purchase certain coverage that you probably don’t need and they make you pay for it? That’s the current system folks. If we change it a bit we can keep all of its benefits and add many more.