Less is More

An op-ed pushing health care reform under the President's name appears in today's New York Times. It complains, predictably, that the facts aren't getting out.
What we haven’t heard are the voices of the millions upon millions of Americans who quietly struggle every day with a system that often works better for the health-insurance companies than it does for them.
We're all aware of the need for bad government regulatory decisions regarding health care to be corrected. Our concern is your plan to kidnap these concerns, pretending they justify a government takeover of the whole shebang.
I don’t have to explain to the nearly 46 million Americans who don’t have health insurance how important this is. But it’s just as important for Americans who do have health insurance.
Well, perhaps you do, Mr. P. A big chunk of those 46 million (if that number is even vaguely accurate) are young people who have little interest in health insurance, a big chunk are illegal aliens, busy filling out forms for Acorn so they can register for subsidized housing and the right to vote, and many are simply between jobs - on short-term departure from insurance. A simple de-coupling of insurance and work (a linkage designed by the government) would help immensely.
Second, reform will finally bring skyrocketing health care costs under control, which will mean real savings for families, businesses and our government. We’ll cut hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and inefficiency in federal health programs like Medicare and Medicaid and in unwarranted subsidies to insurance companies that do nothing to improve care and everything to improve their profits.
Huh? Federal health programs like Medicare and Medicaid are filled with waste and inefficiency? If that's the case, why would we trust government to take over the whole deal if they can't get those right? Anyway, I thought they were the inspiration for the Public Option! Medicare is so good, remember, that it will show the private insurers how to run their ships trimmer?
Third, by making Medicare more efficient, we’ll be able to ensure that more tax dollars go directly to caring for seniors instead of enriching insurance companies.
That sounds like code for squeezing insurance companies out of the business, doesn't it?
Our reform will prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage because of your medical history. Nor will they be allowed to drop your coverage if you get sick. They will not be able to water down your coverage when you need it most. They will no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or in a lifetime. And we will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses. No one in America should go broke because they get sick.
These are all nice changes, improvements that should be considered. But they will make insurance dramatically more expensive, won't they?
In the coming weeks, the cynics and the naysayers will continue to exploit fear and concerns for political gain. But for all the scare tactics out there, what’s truly scary — truly risky — is the prospect of doing nothing.
Offering a false choice is the cornerstone of the President's argument. His way, or the highway. Why not fix the obvious structural problems in the system, lower costs through tort reform (unmentioned in the Democrats revamp) and see how things go. Why must these proposals always be "comprehensive?"
If we maintain the status quo, we will continue to see 14,000 Americans lose their health insurance every day. Premiums will continue to skyrocket. Our deficit will continue to grow. And insurance companies will continue to profit by discriminating against sick people.
This demonization of insurance companies is particularly unseemly. Let's demonize Medicare and Medicaid, since they're so poorly run that they are driving up costs. This health care plan is designed to save those programs, and the politicians who don't want to talk about how they are spinning out of control. New socialism to cover up the spiraling costs of the existing socialism doesn't seem like anything other than kicking the can down the road, and sending our founders' vision further down the drain. Less is more, Jerry Brown told us decades ago. In the health care reform debate, and in evaluating our government, truer words were never spoken.