Health care threatens capitalism

Alex Entz/Senior Writer

You lie!

Pardon the outburst of emotion, as out-of-place as it may seem. But the health care plan on the table has had enough problems and hackneyed clichés bandied about around it to make even the most optimistic American cringe.

Was it not the official line from Obama’s campaign that all uninsured Americans would be covered? “It will provide insurance to those who don’t (have health insurance),” Obama said just a few days ago during his widely scrutinized health care speech. And yet, of the roughly 45 million Americans without health care coverage, the best independent estimates repeatedly have come up with estimates suggesting that around 20 million people will not be covered, particularly in light of the plan’s budget getting slashed. Thus, to start, the “universal health care plan” is not universal.
Statistics fly around and repeatedly punch holes in the arguments put forth from the left. Several independent sources, including the highly regarded Kaiser Family Foundation, have put forth statistics showing the number of long-term uninsured Americans at roughly between eight and 14 million Americans. According to the Congressional Budget Office, a full 45 percent of Americans currently uninsured will have new insurance plans within four months. That translates directly into capitalistic success; with healthcare and profit as the great incentive motivators, we see it working with great aplomb here. People can go out, get new jobs, and thus get insurance coverage. Truly, that is more an endorsement than an indictment of our system.

Another fact: Of the uninsured, nearly nine million of them are making more than $75,000 per year; these people make up a substantial portion of the uninsured pie. Compound that with the timeless truth that capitalism has never treated everyone equally, and the argument for “universal” health care falls away. With our system, everyone has an equal ability to move up through societal classes. If people go out and get an education, they can accomplish great things. And if they choose not to pursue higher education, all they need to do is find and fill a need or a want to move up a few tax brackets through the miracle of entrepreneurship.

Subsequently, the plan’s newly discovered loopholes should put even the most San Francisco-based Democrat to shame. How could a bill that the president got on TV and talked to a national audience about not have a provision requiring identification to be shown before receiving care? And then for Obama to say that the bill would not give illegal immigrants coverage under his plan remains a downright fallacy. With a very limited time structure to work on, the bill has been pushed too hard, too fast. In their rush to push it by the blue-dog, rural Democrats wary of the public option on the House floor and past the snarling Republicans on the Senate floor, liberal leaders have seemingly forgotten—or simply omitted—major points of the bill. This includes major points like where the plan to pay for this “universal health care” has taken up refuge.

That sound reasoning brings the casual observer to the crushing deficit that has arisen beneath the watchful eye of our Pop-Culture Icon in Chief. Granted, some parts of it were necessary, but the compassionate conservative within all of us cringes when the mere notion of 900 billion more being added to that princely sum known as the national debt arises. In an economy struggling to forge ahead out of an expensive and wide-reaching recession, should the nation consciously add another crushing burden to the fragile system? Putting politics before economics has inherent flaws.

Without raising taxes, and with a strict deadline and unwavering mission that allows little compromise the bill surely has major flaws.
I visited with Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley while in Washington, D.C., this summer, and his arguments against a public-option ring clear and true as an inevitable danger. With well over a hundred private insurance plans in place, he questioned the need for a government option to “increase competition.” Such an option, he also noted, would drive many of those insurance companies out of business as business drop their insurance plans. This, he continued, would likely eventually lead to the government “being the only show in town.”

Then comes the candid fact that the system has not worked well overseas, no matter how hard we might try to envision that it has. More Canadians are unhappy with their plans than are Americans. A vast majority of Europeans believe their plans need to be remodeled and rebuilt. Waiting lines are also much shorter for Americans, and the coverage they receive is much better than Europeans.

Health care costs need to come down. But rushing a poorly conceived bill through Congress is not the way to go about doing that. The Republicans are on the right track by looking at ways to increase competition to drive down prices, primarily via ideas such as non-profit cooperatives. The government ran Social Security and Medicare into the ground. What makes universal health care any different?

To counter Obama’s profound love of using pathos-loaded examples in his speeches, I would like to end with an example of my own. After a lifetime of hard work, a John Deere employee finally retires, his insurance seemingly ensured by their employer. And then, suddenly, his care gets dumped as Deere switches over to the public option. Now the retiree faces worse coverage (as the time it takes to see a specialist will more than double) and likely higher taxes. He has earned the coverage he has, but he still sees it taken away. To paraphrase Obama, how is that fair?

Class of 2014

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