HEALTH CARE PROPOSALS: Behind the Facade, Freedoms at Risk

Freedom is precious. It has been said "People fight for freedom, and then they begin to accumulate laws to take freedoms away from themselves." Clearly what we hear today would suggest that this quotation has some validity. The carefully crafted rhetoric of a number of candidates for the Presidential nomination are smothered with high sounding platitudes, but one needs to look behind the facade of the rhetoric to discover reality. These are several candidates who are calling for increasing the size of government, enlarging the federal bureaucracy, and interpreting the US Constitution as a matter of personal opinion. Further, they propose increasing federal spending by taking more out of the pockets of working people, protecting the free reign of trial lawyers, high sounding "talk" but no plan on how to handle illegal immigration, weakening national security, and operating a government run health care system. As we see it, many of these so called "proposed solutions" diminish the freedoms of people and destroy the initiative of hard working folks in a free market society. And when freedoms are diminished, individuals lose their identity. Point in fact, nationalized health care, as proposed by a number of the candidates is a sampling of freedoms gradually being ebbed away from individual control. Milton Acorda once said "Without freedom, no one really has a name." In short, we all become a number.

Several Presidential candidates, including Senator Hillary Clinton, have proposed a nationalized health care plan. They acknowledge that their plans as proposed will cost any where from $90 billion to $110 billion annually and will require tax increases to pay for the plan. The proposed programs will provide "universal" health coverage for all, tax paying and non taxpaying individuals. In order to achieve universality, one must make the program compulsory. We are told that of the 50,000,000 uninsured Americans, more than one fifth of those are illegal immigrants. Thus, about one in five of the beneficiaries of the program for universal health care are illegal aliens. Further, it is stated that the plan(s) would require health insurance as a pre-condition of employment for all perspective employees. Not having insurance would be a violation of law and would prevent one from securing a job. The resulting coercion would force millions to pay, through taxation, for coverage they do not want and feel they do not need.

Currently, Americans have access to the greatest health care system in the world. Hospitals by law are required to admit anyone who shows up at the door--whether those patients have money to pay or not. The bottom line is in this free enterprise system, no patient is left without medical treatment.

Men, women and children from all around the world have long come to the United States for medical treatment. Why have they not gone to national health care countries such as Canada, Cuba, France, China or Russia? For example, if you lived in Canada and you were to injure your leg playing in a football game and your doctor recommends an MRI, your wait for an MRI is several months at least. In the Untied States, in most cases, you will be able to get the MRI within a week or sooner. In nations that have implemented a socialist health care system, even an emergency gall bladder case may require one to wait several months before one can see a physician. Each case is dealt with in a pecking order, depending on the age of the patient and other bureaucratic factors. This is RATIONED medicine. It is unconscionable and is just not good medicine!

Through all these past years, we in the United States have been privileged to have the finest health care system in the world. We have it because our system allows those working within the system--doctors, nurses, medical scientific researchers, other health care providers and personnel-- to work as professional entrepreneurs in a free enterprise system. We are realists when we recognize that in America, whoever is in charge of paying for health care, will ultimately be responsible for the quality of care Americans receive. If you pay for your own health care, either directly or through your insurance plan, then the physicians and medical professionals who serve you are, in effect, your employees. However, in a system where the government pays for your health care, you, as the patient, are not the one in charge. The government, who is the employing agency and who pays the bills, is in charge of the medical case and the medical providers. And the patient is just a number waiting for another bureaucratic decision.

Recently, we have seen what happens when the government begins to meddle and regulate the health care market. As a result, evidence shows the dramatically expanded volume, intensity, and price of heath care. First, by bidding up the price of health care with a payment system that encourages excessive utilization and spending. And secondly, imposing cost containment measures that lead to cost shifting, and thus inadvertently increasing the cost of health care to other buyers as well as changing the way health care is ultimately delivered. In so doing, over regulating has contributed to a process that has priced health care and health insurance far out of line as compared to where it would normally be IF the rules of the free enterprise system were allowed to freely operate. And the American public pays the bill in fixed tax cost and frustration.

We believe that the free enterprise system, based on demonstrated values, is a driving force of energy in our society. Senator Clinton's socialistic health care plan sounds good but in practice it never works. The only thing "equal" about socialism is the equality of suffering. Let's move our health care system to more freedom, more individualism and less government, and use the tested, competitive market mechanism to attain care for all. Today, reforms are needed in the sky rocketing costs of malpractice insurance for physicians and the need of tort liability reform is crying for attention. Why have the candidates not addressed these vital matters?

Further, encompassed in our free enterprise system is the vital role of principled charitable and volunteer organizations. These organizations, with their caring hand and willing heart, are there to support "just what is needed at the right time." Many of us can attest to that! And lastly, but when necessary, the role of government comes into play as the vital safety net in "trying" and truly needy situations. Thankfully, the humane hand of government is there when needed; the American people have seen to that.

We are truly appreciative for the outstanding and comprehensive health care system we have in America and the highly dedicated and competent health care personnel we have in our midst. This can only happen in a country where freedom prevails and the worth and dignity of the individual is protected. In the words of Ronald Reagan "Government's first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives." And in the words of John F. Kennedy "It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom." How truly significant it would if today's Presidential candidates would lead the clarion call for the protection of our great American FREEDOMS. But then, that would require something which is so desperately need today: Reagan and Kennedy-like statesmanship. And that is how we see it FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE.