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Op-Ed: Dems' Health Care Bill A Prescription For National Disaster


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Op-Ed: Dems' Health Care Bill A Prescription For National Disaster

Universal health care? Public option? Nationalized health care? Socialized medicine? Regardless of what you call it, it's a bad idea. Americans are sick and tired of Washington's non-stop spending and bailouts. Now is not the time to burden Americans with higher taxes, more spending, and greater government control.

While the United States has the best quality of care and the best access to care in the world, our nation's health care system needs drastic reforms. However, the Democrats' plan and ObamaCare are not the answer.

Rather than unleashing the power of the free market, President Barack Obama prefers to create a one-size-fits-all solution that puts Washington bureaucrats, rather than doctors, in charge of your health care decisions.

The price of universal health care as proposed by President Obama is in the trillions of dollars, but the true cost is ultimately a loss of our freedoms.

When Congress returns to session next week, we will resume debating the Democrats' universal health care legislation. The Democrats' bill would amount to a government takeover of our nation's entire health care system — a takeover that equals higher taxes, more burdensome and costly government mandates, and greater government control over our private lives.

The Democrats' bill mandates everyone have government-approved insurance, which would likely mean that many employers, rather than being forced to comply with increased costs and regulatory burdens, will dump their insurance plan and force their employees onto the government-run plan. Some studies have estimated tens of millions of workers could lose their current employer-provided insurance plan — a direct contradiction of President Obama's statement that “if you like your private health insurance plan, you can keep your plan.”

In order to control costs, the Democrats' bill imposes several price controls within the health care industry and does nothing to slow the growth in health care costs. Price controls didn't work in the 1970s and they won't work now. Price controls do nothing more than reduce the incentive for cutting-edge research and innovation. What holds prices down is not price controls; rather, it is patients acting like consumers, making decisions in a free and competitive market. In a free market, with less government intrusion, health care providers, like other businesses, will work to win business by keeping costs down and providing the highest quality care possible.

To pay for their plan, President Obama and Congressional Democrats want to place a surtax on millions of hard-working Americans and small business owners. Their plan would enact penalties on businesses with payrolls over $250,000 that do not provide health insurance. This will cripple our nation's small businesses, which create millions of new jobs in our state and the country.

The Democrats' plan will bankrupt our country and raise our budget deficits to astronomical levels. In fact, contrary to the Administration's claims, the Director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Elmendorf, recently said the Democrats' plan would increase, rather than decrease, federal spending on health care in the long-term.

Instead of allowing the federal government to hijack our nation's health care system, we should look to free-market ideas to improve affordability and accessibility for all Americans.

The free-market proposals I support include:

-- Allowing small businesses to pool together to purchase health insurance like large employers and offer their employees better health coverage options at a reasonable cost. By pooling together into small-business health plans, employers spread the risk for costly medical procedures over larger groups of people.

-- Allowing Americans to have greater control over their health care decisions and spending through health savings accounts, which bring more competition to the insurance market.

-- Curbing frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits. Tort reform could save billions of dollars that are wasted each year in defensive medicine.

-- Creating tax incentives, not penalties, for individuals who have health insurance.

The American people deserve the freedom to choose the health care that is best for our families. While this debate is about health care reform, it is also about something bigger. At its core, this debate is about whether the federal government has taken too much control of our economy. The American people have spoken, and their answer is a resounding YES.

Implementing market-based ideas to reform our health care system will encourage competition, innovation, and life-saving medical advances, while expanding choices for those who need medical care the most. It's the kind of prescription our ailing health care system desperately needs.

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