Friday, March 5, 2010

Party of "No" Vol. 1: Anti-Health Care Reform

Part of the left's trying to label the Republican party the party of "no" is by saying we are "anti-health care reform." Not so. Most Conservatives believe health care should be private and not a government entity. Conservatives have come up with a lot of effective ideas for improving health care in America, such as allowing coverage for pre-existing conditions, enacting tort reform, allowing people to purchase insurance across state lines or allowing small businesses and independent contractors to form purchasing pools with which to purchase health insurance. We believe government should provide a safety net for those who need it, not overhall what works for most people because a relative few don't have what they need. Most of all, we believe in educating people about what Obamacare really is. We are pro-health care reform, just not the reform progressives want.

Many conservatives would like to see changes in the current system, such as insurance companies allowing coverage for pre-existing conditions, which can bankrupt a family if one of their family members has a chronic health condition, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or a chronic pain condition.

Insurance companies have to realize that pre-existing conditions are not like injuries incurred in a car accident or on the job. Those injuries and everything relating to them need to be paid by the auto insurance company or workers compensation. I understand an insurance company not wanting to pay for injuries for which the person has other insurance coverage and that insurance will pay those bills. In those cases, the auto insurance or workers compensation will follow that person wherever they go and whatever health insurance they have.

But a pre-existing condition is different. If someone develops high blood pressure while they are covered by Insurance Company A, and they, for whatever reason, must switch to Insurance Company B, Insurance Company A isn't responsible for the high blood pressure and will not pay for anything associated with it. It doesn't follow the patient anywhere. The practice of disallowing pre-existing conditions needs to stop, and I think insurance companies can afford it. Their executives are some of the highest paid professionals in the country.

Putting caps on malpractice awards would also help. The most these awards do is to line the pockets of trial lawyers. We have to stop being a "blame game" society. For example, the average cost of malpractice insurance for an OBGYN is $100,000 annually. The cost is passed directly to the consumer. The premiums are so high primarily because people have decided they have a "right" to a perfect baby. I can find no document giving people this right, but people still insist they have it. It stems, I think, from the lack of respect for the sanctity of life in our country. The most disgusting example of this is the "wrongful life" suit. This is when a woman or couple sue a doctor because he or she failed to diagnose a birth defect before birth, when the baby could have been aborted. Since the birth defect isn't detected until after the birth when, dang it, it is too late to legally kill the baby, the doctor is sued for the "wrongful life" of that child. If we were inject some common sense (or common decency) into malpractice lawsuits and have real tort reform, which most Conservatives believe in, we could considerably bring down the cost of health care in America.

Most Conservatives would like to allow people to shop for health insurance across state lines, just like any other service. For example, people who have adult children and live in a state that offers poor coverage for them might like to purchase health care in Minnesota, where insurance companies are mandated to cover adult children until age 26 regardless of student status. They aren't taking anything away from anyone by doing this because they are paying premiums for the privilege of buying this out-of-state health insurance. This will also stimulate the free market capitalist system because insurance companies or states will be forced to offer better products and services. This will improve health insurance, thus improving health care.

Most people who aren't politically affiliated or who are progressives think that if the health care bill passes on March 18, (the day Obama has declared as the deadline for voting on this bill), that they will magically have "free" health insurance. That's not how it works.

I think the best thing Conservatives could do would be to pour money into creating public service announcements (PSAs) to educate the public about what government-run health care is really like. They could teach people that they will be paying high taxes for health care while not receiving care for four years. On top of that tax money, they will have to continue paying their regular insurance premiums, which will skyrocket because they are anticipating huge losses once Obamacare is in place.

They could have PSAs that show how the "free" health care systems in Canada and the UK are doing. They could show the statistics of how many people die from certain cancers here and compare them to countries with socialized medicine. Guess what--when your health care is rationed, more people die. When you have extremely long waits for health care, more people die. Americans are hisotorically a generous people. We give more money to charitable organizations than any country in the world. What good does it do to give your money to the American Cancer Society to discover new life-saving treatments, only to have them go unused because they're too expensive. Patients could also die waiting for life-saving treatments because of long waiting lists or a lack of early detection.

The citizens also need to know about the government's actions regarding mandated health care. If you lose your job, you can't just get another job and get that corporation's health care; you are required to buy government health care. If you are young and healthy and don't want health care, the government will make you buy it. If you don't, you could be fined or imprisoned. Gee, that sounds like a free society to me: buy what the government wants you to buy or we throw you in jail. That's not America.

Conservatives believe that by turning over our health care to the government (a system which is failing in nearly every country that has enacted it), is to give up our inalienable right to liberty.

Do we think there are problems with health care as it stands? Yes. But we believe we can fix those problems without overhauling what is widely considered to be the best health care system in the world. President Obama has said that the American people deserve a final vote on health care reform. He means the current health care reform monstrosity they call a "bill." We want that vote to be a resounding "no."

But we are not anti-health care reform. We are pro-health care reform, if it complies with and doesn't endanger our constitutional rights.

Coming next: Party of "No" Vol. 2: Anti-Government

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