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Vail Daily letter: Deja vu all over again

Buddy Shipley
Vail, CO, Colorado
newsroom@vaildaily.com

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are already racing to bankrupt the nation, and now our government wants to repeat this same behavior yet again, expecting a different result. It is insanity to believe we spend our way of debt.

TARP.1, TARP.2, the selective bailouts, government ownership of private corporations — all these things were railroaded through Congress on claims they were each necessary to stop the economic crisis, skyrocketing unemployment, bank failures, home foreclosures, and the prospect of a GM bankruptcy.

And what have been the results of recklessly passing trillions of dollars in legislative spending and putting the country $10 trillion in debt, all passed without reading the bills?

Six months later the economic crisis persists. Unemployment has exceeded this administration’s wildest dreams. Banks continue to fail and people are still losing their homes to foreclosure. GM filed bankruptcy anyway, but not until the UAW was guaranteed a seat at the table. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the U.S. Postal Service are forecasting earlier failures, and now our government wants to do the same with health care for the rest of us.

Incidentally, the much-ballyhooed unemployment figures of late indicate only that our freefall is no longer accelerating. We have reached terminal velocity. It is simply not possible to fail any faster than we already are.

This new government bureaucracy would control how much money may be spent on patients, what medical procedures and medications the government insurance plan will pay for, and how much it will pay toward each.

Coverage cannot be unlimited because unlimited coverage would mean unlimited costs, and even the government will eventually run out of our money. Just as we see today in Canada and the UK today, wait lists in the U.S. would be inevitable, treatments and medications will be rationed and delayed and denied.

Besides all that, it’s unconstitutional. The Constitution does not grant the federal government any power or authority over anyone’s health care.

Then again, it’s also unconstitutional for the federal government to take over private businesses, but that hasn’t stopped this administration or this Congress, so I can only conclude that these elected officials treated their oath of office and job description like they treat trillion dollar legislation (i.e., they didn’t read it).

Lest we be labeled as “The party of No,” I offer the following recommendations:

To ensure insurance portability, insurance must be obtained by individuals, not employers. It makes no sense to bind your health insurance with your employer.

Private insurers must be allowed to compete nationwide, and policies must be portable, state-to-state. They must be allowed to offer a range of coverage, as the marketplace demands, including plans to accommodate pre-existing conditions.

To alleviate the problem of overwhelming our medical system because of too few doctors and nurses in the U.S., we must consider allowing insurers to extend coverage to services provided anywhere in the world where costs are lower, such as Thailand, India and elsewhere.

Medical tourism has been gaining popularity in recent years because the cost of flights, accommodations and excellent treatment abroad can be cheaper than just the treatment alone here at home. You’re also told the cost of all the services up-front so that you can shop for better deals!

Informed health-care consumers can make smarter decisions. All medical service providers, hospitals, clinics, et al, must be required to provide patients with a quote of all costs for services to be performed and medications to be provided, with no hidden fees, no surprises.

Caveats may be included to cover any unforeseen complications. It’s nearly impossible to get any price information from most hospitals prior to treatment.

Tort reform! Need I say more?

One of the best health-care innovations in many years has been the HSA, yet our government plans to end this. HSAs should be expanded, not curtailed.

When health-care consumers know it’s their money on the line, they tend to shop a bit harder. Perhaps all insurance plans should include an HSA component. This is called “competition.” For competition to work it requires multiple providers, not a single-payer system, and no so-called “public option” subsidized by taxpayers that would distort the economic pressures.

Whatever plans or reforms are enacted, Congress and the president must to submit to the exact same plans they intend to foist on the rest of us. If those we elected will not agree to this, then they are unworthy to represent us.

Buddy Shipley

Edwards


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