On November 2, 2010 my wife woke me up at 3:30 AM with an incredible pain in her lower right abdomen. I took her to the emergency room and by 6:30 AM all the X-rays and CT Scans revealed a problem with her appendix. She was immediately prepped for surgery and by 10:30 AM the surgeon had finished the operation. I was in the waiting room when he came in to have a word with me.
“Please have a seat,” the Doctor said. That’s never good. He explained that once he was going through the normal course of the operation, he found that the inflammation causing the pain wasn’t isolated only to the appendix… it was throughout her intestines and colon. Without getting detailed and graphic, what should have been a routine laparoscopic surgery turned in to a major surgery and a five day hospital stay.
Unlike the vast majority of Americans who receive health insurance through their parents or their employer, my wife and I pay for it ourselves. We were nervous about coverage because we had just switched from our regular health care plan, that was costing both of us a total $506.00 a month, to a Health Savings Account (HSA) plan costing us $274.00 a month. What was the hospital bill going to be and how much would be covered?
A little over a month later we received our hospital bill… $106,000.00. How much was our portion? $3,700.00. I am no mathematician, but it looks to me as though our portion of the entire hospital bill was less than 3.5%. Sure, coming up with a few grand isn’t easy, but it sure is better than coming up with over a hundred thousand dollars or receiving no care at all. What’s better? The hospital will work with us on a payment plan.
And when I tell people this story, I emphasize that this is a small price to pay to avoid a waiting list for surgery, to have a room available at the hospital and to have great doctors who are able to make quick and smart decisions during the course of a surgery. All this compliments of our health insurance coverage, a plan that costs about 30% less than my car payment.
Sure, our situation is unique and not all health insurance plans are the same. Some plans are better and some are not as good. It’s just a fact; however, the freedom to shop around and make an informed decision is currently available. We chose a plan that was best suited for us and our needs.
So, what’s the big deal about health care? Americans pay for their individual needs such as shelter, clothes, food and water… why do Democrats want so badly to push for free health care for all?
First, they will tell you that their agenda is not to achieve free health care for all. Their very own talking points straight from the White House stress that they want the individual to have control over their own health care – not the government and not the insurance companies. Furthermore, they state, “It isn’t government control to set new common-sense rules of the road for insurance companies to protect consumers from their abuses. The plan gives patients and doctors more control over health care decisions, not insurance companies, and cracks down on practices like denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and dropping patients when they become sick.” Even Obama told the American Medical Association that the public option is not a Trojan Horse for a single-payer system. The rhetoric continued into his Town Hall Meetings where he assured the American people that there would be no government take over of health care.
And, for the most part the Democrats are correct; Obamacare is not a nationalization of our health care industry. Though it is packed with burdensome mandates and taxes, one has to wonder if this law isn’t the foundation of a slippery slope that leads straight to a government takeover. This isn’t an accusation that Republicans and Tea Partiers make lightly, it’s because Obama has a track record declaring his ultimate goal of a single-payer universal health care system in America:
• In December 2003, at an AFL-CIO Civil, Human and Women’s Rights Conference, Obama stated, “I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14% of its gross national product on health care, cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody… A single-payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. That’s what I’d like to see.”
• In February 2004, about a month before the primary election in the U.S. Senate race, the Associated Press reported the stance of all the candidates on universal health care. “Obama says he supports the idea of universal health care…”
• In October 2006, Obama published The Audacity of Hope. In this book, he states that a single-payer system is the hope of the left.
• On March 24, 2007, during a SEIU Health Care Forum, Obama stated, “My commandment is to make sure that we got universal health care for all Americans by the end of my first term as President.” He went on to discuss how his goal is to eliminate employer covered insurance, but didn’t think it could happen immediately. He envisions “a decade out or fifteen years our or twenty years out.”
• In April 2007, the Chicago Tribune reported, “Obama has pledged that, if elected, all Americans would have health-care coverage by the end of his first term.”
Obama, often described as a forked tongued charlatan, will fight tooth and nail every effort to repeal Obamacare for two reasons. One, it is his legacy and no man wants his legacy stripped from him. And two, it pushes the Trojan Horse back out of the gates of Troy, ruining all the efforts made thus far to move America toward the single-payer universal health care plan.
So how do Conservatives, Republicans, Libertarians and Tea Partiers help push the Trojan Horse outside of the gates of Troy before Odysseus and his twenty-nine men pop out and gain a foothold? By winning in the marketplace of ideas. Rasmussen released a new poll today that shows 58% of Likely Voters favor repeal of Obamacare, but suggests that confidence to repeal is down. Americans opposed to Obamacare are the caretakers of liberty and have a duty to make sure that the confidence to repeal does not stay down for too long.
The Democrats I’ve spoken with argue that free health care is a human right and therefore should be considered an essential service like our police, fire, public schools and postal service covered under the General Welfare clause of the U.S. Constitution. They point to European socialist countries that provide universal health care to its citizens as shining examples of health care systems that work. And they cite the CBO findings that the legislation would result in $1 trillion of deficit reduction over the next two decades.
I find the best way to debate these topics is to address their points, and to make a few of my own.
First, health care is not a human right; however, equal access to health care is a right. A human right is not defined by what one individual can take from others, whether it is their personal property or their labor. Liberty and human rights must be compatible or else the result defies logic.
Second, “essential services” is a misnomer. Local municipalities administer services such as police, fire, rescue, water, and so on as a public service… not an individual service. And one could even argue that the General Welfare clause applies to such services in that if left unresolved a fire may burn down an entire city, a criminal could terrorize an entire city, the entire city’s water supply could become contaminated, but an individual who breaks their leg or needs an operation is not a public risk.
Third, just about every European socialist country that has a national health care plan is going bankrupt: France, England, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and so on. And when closely examined, there are lines to get care, doctor shortages and not enough rooms at their hospitals to treat all the patients. Many of these countries are moving toward a free market system of health care. Those that are successful, such as Sweden and Norway, don’t make their health care available to every single person, some folks are excluded and must use the private health care system. In addition, those countries have the economic resources available courtesy of an abundance of gas and oil reserves and not a burdensome population that stresses the system. In fact, Norway, whose cost of living is 30% higher than in the U.S., has a similar land mass as the state of California with a population half the size of the city of Los Angeles. Yet, in their health care system, they still experience long lines, hospital room shortages, and public doctors who often threat to go on strike. Our society could not support such a system.
Lastly, the fact is that the $1 trillion in deficit reduction cited by the CBO is flawed. Numbers were duplicated and the real amount is $540 billion in the ten year period from 2012 through 2021. But in order to pay for such a monstrosity, taxes must first be raised and under Obamacare, there are $770 billion in new taxes. So, if there is a repeal, there will be no new taxes AND a $230 billion deficit reduction. And that is according to the non-partisan CBO.
After I’ve addressed their specious issues point by point, I ask them a series of difficult questions to answer:
• Aren’t you bothered by how Obama lied to the American people when he said that the health care debate would be broadcast on CSPAN, but rather it was orchestrated behind closed doors using kickbacks and political favors?
• Aren’t you bothered by the fact that Obama lied when he said he would allow five days for the American people to read the legislation and make public comments?
• Aren’t you bothered that Obama broke his campaign promise and signed Obamacare into law without a mandate of insurance coverage for autism treatment?
• Aren’t you bothered by the fact that the only thing partisan about this legislation were the Democrats joining Republicans to vote against it?
• Aren’t you bothered that the Democrats voted on a 2,000+ page piece of legislation that they never read and that Pelosi declared, “We have to pass it to see what’s in it”?
• Aren’t you bothered that the Democrats provided the CBO with bogus numbers (omitting discretionary appropriations, double-counting offsets and continuing to account for the “doc fix” which was not passed) in order to get a favorable result?
• Why wasn’t tort reform addressed in Obamacare?
• Why wasn’t expanding health insurance competition from across state lines addressed in Obamacare?
• Would you pay 10 months for 6 month of insurance for your car for your neighbor? Well, why would you pay 10 years for 6 years of health insurance coverage for a complete stranger?
• Don’t you think it is ridiculously burdensome that if I buy a piece of equipment worth over $600 for my business from another business that I will have to fill out at W-9 so I can be sent me a 1099 for tax purposes?
• It was found unconstitutional and will eventually be resolved in the Supreme Court, but don’t you really believe that the individual mandate – that forces every single person to enter into commerce and make a health insurance purchase under threat of fine and imprisonment – is patently un-American?
• If Obamacare is so wonderful, why are so many companies and unions requesting waivers to be excluded?
• Aren’t you bothered that Obama claimed that his law would reduce insurance costs and premiums, yet Hewitt Associates, an independent consulting firm, concluded that employers will see their premiums go up by about 8.8% in 2011 – and about 1 to 2% more because of Obamacare?
• The government has failed to manage the tax payer dollars wisely in social security, medicare and education, why do you have confidence that they can manage 1/6th of our entire economy?
• Why do you believe it is fair that one person, who leads a healthy lifestyle, must pay for the health care of another person who does not exercise, overeats, smokes, drinks too much, uses illegal drugs and has unprotected sex?
• If society has a duty to provide health care for an individual, then shouldn’t that individual have a responsibility to mitigate their potential health issues and costs to society?
• If you believe that the government should provide health care for everyone, then, based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, shouldn’t you believe that the government should provide food, water, clothes and shelter to everyone as well? Where does it stop?
Then I stipulate that some changes need to be made: tort reform, fewer fraud fighting restrictions, opening up competition of insurance companies across state lines and the need for something, at the state level, similar to “assigned risk” car insurance policies for the uninsurable as well as assistance for those with catastrophic health issues and concerns. Aside from the fact that it proves I am not totally resistant to change, I actually believe more market based solutions will drive down the costs of our premiums.
And after I am finished making the case, I remind them of my wife’s surgery. I can argue logic, facts, numbers and theory all day long, but at the end of the day nothing makes a greater impact than a personal anecdote. For the cost of your daily Starbucks… for less than the cost of your phone bill and your cable bill combined… for a lot less than a car payment, my wife received over $100,000.00 worth of excellent care and immediate services. No lines. No overcrowded hospitals. No shoddy doctors and surgeons. Just a free market system operating efficiently and effectively… a shining example of the best health care system in the world.