Like many of you, I feel frustrated and helpless as I watch the radical left race to destroy and bankrupt our country. The unfortunate reality is that once their new government programs are enacted they will be almost impossible to repeal. Not only do these government programs tend to stifle our economy and squash our freedoms, they also manufacture democrats by creating a culture of government dependency. Obama and Pelosi realize this which is why they are so zealous to drive their agenda through Congress while they can. They're not worried about short-term political losses, because if their agenda passes they will be in control of the country for generations. They will have won the war.
The centerpiece of their agenda, and Obama's presidency, is health-care reform. If we can stop it, we may stop the entire left wing agenda. I believe we stand at a watershed moment in the history of our republic, and yet I feel impotent. What can I do besides call my congresswoman? Even assuming she wasn't a liberal democrat (she is), what effect would one call have?
If we're going to stop this, we need to rally the American people against it. We can't rely on our elected leaders as most of them have proven to be poor communicators of common sense. Even if our leaders were effective, how do they get their message out through a hostile media to an inattentive, uninformed, and apathetic public?
The American people need to understand what is at stake and how the liberal agenda is going to transform America in a way that they are not going to like. The people we need to reach are the broad middle of America who aren't political junkies, who haven't followed the health care debate closely, who don't have a well-defined ideology, and who may like Obama. The only way to get these people activated against the health care takeover is for people they trust to explain to them in a common sense way why it will be bad for them and for the country.
So what I am proposing is that we use the internet to start a viral grassroots messaging campaign. My initial goal is for 500 people to send an email to 20 people, which means 10,000 people would get the initial blast. Hopefully, 10,000 is critical mass for the message to go viral. Below is my best attempt to explain the health care debate in a pithy and common sense way. If you can write something better, please do so and send that instead.
Family and Friends,
I'm not the type of person who usually sends out mass-emails, but there is something very important that I want to bring to your attention. Some of you may be following this closely, but many are not.
Congress is currently trying to push through a bill that would radically and almost irreversibly change our health care system in America. And if you ever expect to be really sick, or if you've struggled to watch someone you love suffer from a disease, then you should care about what is happening.
Many of you are understandably not interested in politics, and you don't have the time to try to understand how our health care system works or think about how to fix it. You hear different opinions on TV and you're not sure who to trust. I'm going to do my best to briefly explain what is going on and how it will effect you.
Americans with health insurance have the best health care in the world. We have the best survival rates from cancer, almost three times more MRI machines per capita than western Europe, and much lower wait times for specialists and procedures. The top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other developed country. The problem is that health care costs are growing much faster than inflation, and that 13% of the population doesn't have insurance. Of those, a third can afford it but don't want it, a third are illegal immigrants, and another third are eligible for Medicaid (insurance for the poor) or are between jobs and will be without insurance for less than five months.
The reasons costs are growing so fast include:
1. Americans have pre-paid health care rather than insurance. Deductibles, premiums, and co-pays are low; most of the care you receive is paid by someone else so you don't really care what it costs. Think about how you would eat differently if you had food insurance that paid for groceries and eating out. You only had to pay for the first $1000 per year of food and $10 for every visit to a supermarket or restaurant. Most people would eat much more expensive food. In the same way, we over consume health care because it is cheap.
2. Frivolous lawsuits result in defensive medicine and expensive malpractice insurance.
3. New technology.
4. Americans are overweight and don't exercise.
5. America subsidizes drug R&D for the entire world. Many countries limit what companies can charge for drugs, so the research costs are recouped from Americans.
6. States mandates on what insurers must cover necessarily raise costs.
The proposed solution to all these problems is to create a government insurance plan to cover the uninsured. Theoretically, this plan would drive down costs by creating competition with the private insurers. But the effect (intentional by some) of a government insurance program will be to drive all the private health-care companies out of business so that all Americans will eventually be forced into government-run health care like they have in the UK or Canada. Some openly state that as the goal:
Why will a government insurance company drive everyone out of business? Isn't competition good? Competition is good except when certain players don't play by the rules. No business with unlimited resources can compete fairly because it is impossible for them to fail. They could lose money by giving things away for free, drive their competitors out of business, and then they would become a monopoly. Government also makes the rules, and you can't have the referee also playing the game because you can't trust them to be fair. Also, government officials tend to use power to advance their interests and the interests of their constituents; therefore, government as a whole makes decisions to maximize political goals whereas businesses maximize financial goals. A government health care company will end up getting special tax breaks, be awarded contracts as a way for congressmen to launder money to their allies, and will be exempt from certain regulations. In other words, it will cheat and result in more corruption. If you doubt this, go spend 15 minutes reading about Fannie Mae and the financial crisis.
If everyone did rely on the government for health care, what would be the effects?
1. Inefficiency. Government programs are inherently inefficient because
a. No incentives for excellence. The people running the organization are not worried about failure, and they don't profit by being successful and efficient.
b. Customers of government services are COSTS, whereas customers of a business are REVENUE. That's why you get better service at a restaurant than at the DMV. The DMV doesn't care if you get mad and leave, it's just less work for them.
c. Politicians fiddle with government programs to benefit themselves and their supporters at the expense of the general population.
d. The most qualified people don't run government organizations. Plum jobs at government agencies go to the politically well-connected.
2. Going to the Dr. would be like the worst HMO you can imagine.
3. If you offer seemingly free health care to everyone, the system will be overwhelmed by demand. To contain costs, the government will have to ration care. Instead of you and your Dr. determining what tests and treatments to try, doctors will have to consult a manual to see what tests and drugs are approved for someone with your condition at your age. The government will place a value on your life based on how old you are, and if the treatment costs more than you're worth you won't get it. That is exactly what they do in Britain.
4. Fewer people will want to be doctors as it will be a lower paying profession that is less rewarding (since the government sets salaries and regulates how to treat patients).
5. A new health care entitlement will bankrupt our country. When Medicare was passed in 1966, it was estimated to cost $12 billion in 1990. The real cost: $107 billion.
There are problems with cost and access to health care, but a government insurance plan will make the system worse. There are other solutions that address the fundamental problems: letting small businesses form risk pools, tax credits and deductions for individuals, tort reform, allowing insurance to be sold across state lines, and many other things.
If a new government plan is enacted it will be near impossible to repeal. Many employers will stop insuring their employees if it's cheaper to let the government cover them. Eventually, you or someone you love is going to go through a lot of unnecessary suffering because of a lack of good medical care, and there will be very few if any private doctors to turn to.
Congress is going to try to pass this bill is September, and the only thing that can stop it is the outrage of the American people. What can you do?
Call or Email your Senator and Representative: http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/
Discuss this issue with your friends and family.
Email your friends and family. Forward this email or write your own. When forwarding, copy and paste the text into a new email to avoid having > inserted before the message body.
If you think government controlled health care is going to result in suffering to you, your family, or your fellow citizens, and yet you're not willing to do something as simple as sending an email to help prevent it, then you need to ask yourself what would motivate you to action?
I'd like to be able to report back to Redstate on our progress in a week, so if you participate, please let me know by emailing [email protected] and letting me know how many people you emailed.
The conservative movement desperately needs a way to spread our message to middle America, and hopefully this can be the start of an ongoing effort to do that.