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Why I Oppose Single Payer Health Insurance

I am worried by health care “reform”.  The Democrat leadership is simply not listening, and is apparently going to try and shove something through using procedural loopholes, legislative tricks, and executive fiat.

My opinion on what we should do around healthcare can be found here.  But that doesn’t describe WHY I find the Democrat reform proposals, ObamaCare, and single payer government health insurance so repulsive.  In my view, government needs to be getting LESS involved in health care, not more involved.

First, government payment equates to government control.  Government will ration, and demand will be irrelevant to the delivery of drugs and services.  If there are only 100 hip or knee or valve replacements budgeted this year, the 101st person needing one waits, regardless of the risk. This point is beyond dispute .. it has been demonstrated in every nationalized health care system.  No one with any sense thinks that a government bureaucrat will be any less “heartless” than an insurance company bureaucrat.  Government should not be deciding who gets health care and who doesn’t.

Second, giving government control of health care payments we eliminate the incentive for innovation.  While government can (and does) fund significant research, it will never fund the kind of  research/testing/etc. necessary to bring a new treatment to market.  And government price controls will never allow the gross margins necessary to support these activities. Atlantic Magazine economist Megan McArdle discusses this issue in some depth here.

Third,  the last thing this country needs is another entitlement program. We should be reducing or eliminating entitlements, and reducing the dependence of people on government.

Fourth, government is not a vehicle for excellence, and in health care we need excellence. Look at the schools.  Government attracts control freaks and those who crave power, and the last place we want those kinds of people is controlling what doctors we see and what treatments we get.   And the idea that “progressives” will have the health care system as another tool for their social experimentation is horrifying.

Fifth, government is not a vehicle for efficiency and cost control.  Again, look at the schools.  Or the military.  Or every other government bureaucracy. And imagine the “cut where it hurts most” budget games the health care bureaucrats will play. Combine that with the ever-increasing demand for free services, and government funded health care is a financial disaster waiting to happen.

Sixth, health care is already TOO political. I don’t want drug approvals based on what company is in which Senator’s state or hospital locations based on which congressman has the most pull.  I don’t want a second rate pacemaker because the maker of the best pacemaker is non-union.  I don’t want to make a campaign contribution to get some strings pulled and my bypass approved. And anyone who doesn’t think all of those things (and more) will be a reality is delusional.approved.

Note: a “money quote” from the McArdle article.

Once the government gets into the business of providing our health care, the government gets into the business of deciding whose life matters, and how much.  It gets into the business of deciding what we “really” want, where what we really want can never be a second chocolate eclair that might make us a size fourteen and raise the cost of treating us.

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