The health care mess continues to amaze me.
Here we are in the middle of a recession, and instead of focusing on fixing the economy we are about to embark on a huge and perilous social experiment. Even before the recession, we were being warned about the fiscal doom awaiting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. So, now, here we are about to massively expand the government’s role in health care, instead of healing the economy and shoring up the programs that already exist. This is — in a word — nuts.
There are lots of things that Congress could do to fix the health care system short of a massive government takeover that will plunge us all into a deeper pit of debt and taxes. First, insurance companies could be forbidden to discriminate based upon pre-existing conditions. Second, insurance companies could be forbidden to raise a person’s rates when they leave their job, so insurance would be portable. Third, insurance companies could be allowed to compete across state lines.
But instead of common-sense measures like this, the government is on the brink of taking over a sixth of the economy. Decreasing the number of uninsured in this country is a wonderful goal. So, why not give every person a voucher, if the person pays half? That way people would have an incentive to get the biggest bang for their buck when they go out to use the voucher to buy insurance. Instead, the government is about to penalize anyone who doesn’t get insurance, which would cause many people to buy token lousy insurance at a very cheap price, which is a problem that Congress would in turn “solve” by requiring that a minimally acceptable insurance policy have certain government-mandated characteristics (which gets us into support for abortion, death panels, massive bureaucracy, public options, et cetera).
The path we are on is a path to disaster, as far as I can tell. Let’s hope I’m wrong.