I wish I could say that I believed the Blue Dog Democrats will stand firm on health care reform issues. But I am afraid that the party-line vote in the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday night is a preview of what we will see in the final House and Senate votes on health care reform in September.
As I contemplate the bill my heart fills with sorrow. Where are the righteous legislators who should be defending against such a breach of freedom and logic? Have we fallen so far into ignorance and selfishness as to have elected a body who will allow this legislation to pass?
Medicare and Medicaid enrollment already stand at nearly 100 million, about one third of our nation's population. (45 million and 42 million respectively) In many regions (like where I live), Medicare and Medicaid patients already make up the majority of health care visits. With the addition of the government public insurance option and government subsidies of private plans, government control of the health care industry will increase.
As health care providers are painfully aware, the national legislature controls reimbursement rates to physicians for visits from Medicare and Medicaid patients. In perhaps the majority of cases (especially in non-rural designated areas), government reimbursement for care rendered to these patients does not cover the cost of the care. In other words, health care providers lose money every time they see a government patient.
Economically speaking, the legislature has established price controls for over one third of all health care visits. Doctors make up their losses by overcharging their other patients. Thus, patients who pay with cash or through a private insurance plan lose money twice: once when they are overcharged for their visits to compensate for government patients and a second time when their taxes cover the bill for these patients.
We can see that Uncle Sam has already torn a sizable hole in the pocket of self-paying, self-sufficient Americans by forcing them to fund the care of 1/3 of the population. How much more will he siphon from their bank accounts with the addition of the government public insurance option and subsidies to pay for the insurance of millions of more Americans?
We can see that additional government funding of health care will be a major problem. The problem is made much worse when we consider other goodies (check out this link) that have been included in the House Version of the Bill. This bill, laced with measures that strip freedom and human dignity and provisions for future federal power grabs, is a collection of sophisticated price controls. As we have discussed in the past and well understand, such measures must fail, regardless of their sophistication.
I cannot emphasize enough how disastrous the bill will be if passed. American health care survives today even with the existing burden of heavy price control. But the bill is too much. It will not "fix" health care. It will cause the health care industry to grind to a halt, necessitating further government takeover. Please let your legislators know about your feelings on this issue.