Last week House Democrats unveiled a bulky $894 billion health care plan which will initiate sweeping reforms of the American health care system. In all likelihood, the plan would be funded by stifling tax measures on an already overburdened American populace. This will only further hinder the economy by destroying private sector jobs and increasing unemployment.
Results of a study conducted by Wellpoint Inc. found that, “Young and healthy consumers will see the largest increases—their premiums would more than triple in some states… the new costs the bill creates don’t vaporize. They’re merely transferred to taxpayers nationwide—or financed with deficits, which will be financed eventually with higher taxes.”
Ironically, proponents claim that, “like Medicare, a new government plan could be run far more efficiently than private firms.” But Medicare is going broke! And Nancy Pelosi had the nerve to assert, “Today, we are … laying the foundation for a brighter future for generations to come.” In fact, this bill ensures that our future will be laden with back-breaking debt and astounding deficits.
For New Orleans the news could be particularly bad. According to Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine, the city is facing a $250 million dollar shortfall in the health care program. Should the swine flu epidemic hit New Orleans, the city’s staggering shortfall will be compounded as the pandemic causes health care costs to inflate significantly.
While there is general agreement that the current system is in need of a drastic overhaul, imposing numerous government regulations is not the solution. The Cato Institute has promoted alternative options that would be more effective than the proposed health care legislation, including:
1) Letting individuals control their health care dollars and freeing them to choose from a wide variety of health plans and providers.
2) Moving away from a health care system dominated by employer-provided health insurance. Health insurance should be personal and portable, controlled by individuals themselves rather than government or an employer.
3) Increasing competition among insurers and health providers by allowing the purchase of health insurance across state lines.
4) Giving Medicare enrollees a voucher, then letting them choose any health plan on the market and keeping the savings.
All of these proposals would help lower the cost of health insurance and increase coverage. And none of the proposed options require expanding government involvement in health care. When dealing with the health of our nation, government intervention is clearly not the answer. Federal bureaucrats should, in the words of Michael Cannon, “start practicing evidence-based health policy.”