"The lights must dim around Google's data-storage centers every time someone does a search for "government bureaucrat coming between you and your doctor." Foes of the Democrats' health-reform proposals have been chanting this on the hour for a year..."
After claiming, with some truth, that private insurance company bureaucrats already do the same thing, she asks:
"But why has the idea of letting the government do what private insurers do to save taxpayers money become such a hysterical hot button?"
The difference between government action and private action is the difference between force and voluntary, uncoerced agreement. But with regard to private health insurance in this country, the issue is muddied considerably by government intervention ... i.e., the introduction of force into the market.
We also see yet another example of an ObamaCare proponent taking the status quo as the given, thus avoiding the necessity of any analysis of how the government's policies have created the very problems "reform" is supposedly designed to fix. This tactic is vital to their case, because any honest look at cause and effect would lead to a greatly diminished government role and more freedom as the logical solution.
Here is my commentary:
Posted by: Mike Zemack Mar 12, 07:26 PM
“The powers in Washington have clearly decided to keep most working Americans in the hands of private insurance companies.”
So laments Ms. Harrop. The statement is true, but off by about seventy years. Decades ago, the Federal government established the third-party-payer, or employer-based, system of health insurance. This created an artificial middleman that disconnected the consumer of healthcare from the provider. Then came thousands of state-imposed insurance mandates across the nation– from community rating to guaranteed issue to benefits – that force insurers to tailor their policies to the demands of political pressure groups rather than market realities … i.e., to the desires and pocketbooks of the consumer, who is perversely not the customer. These same insurers are protected from interstate competition via interstate trade barriers imposed by government.
We’ve all heard the story of the fireman who starts fires, so that he can rush to the scene to “save” lives and property. (We had a real live one of those living in my neighborhood, some years ago.) Well, in regard to America’s health insurance system, the government is that fireman.
The health insurance industry that ObamaCare supporters love to demonize is a scapegoat and a straw man, because it is in fact a political creation. The alleged power of the insurance companies is an extension of government power and would not be possible in a free market. Our fireman now proposes to save us from its own creation! Our “private” health insurance industry is a government controlled and protected series of state-based cartels operating in a government-crippled insurance market. Our “private” health insurance system is in the nature of fascism, or back-door socialism, and is not indicative of a free market.
“Those who care to move this conversation to a more grownup level” start by examining the role that government intervention has played in placing the healthcare of Americans “in the hands of private insurance companies.” They will find that it was the government itself.
The argument for “letting the government do what private insurers do” is a red herring. It is a call for totalitarian centralized control of medicine by government bureaucrats unconstrained by the need to earn a profit … i.e., to satisfy their customers. Insurance company bureaucrats empowered by our government-imposed third-party-payer system are bad enough. Government bureaucrats possessing the legalized power of physical force - i.e., a gun - would end the remaining fragments of freedom to make our own healthcare decisions that we still possess.
The Supreme Court legalized abortion in Rowe v. Wade based on the argument that abortion is a health matter that should be decided solely between a woman and her doctor. Fair enough. The solution to the problems of health insurance rests with the same logic. Remove all government restrictions in the national health insurance market. Restrict government instead – to its proper role of enforcing laws against fraud and breech of contract, mediating legitimate contractual disputes between insurers and insured, and enforcing and protecting contracts and contractual freedom … i.e., to protecting everyone’s individual rights.
Health insurance is solely a matter between the individual and his insurer, and their rights to contract freely to mutual advantage should be protected. The natural incentives of the free market – the consumer seeking the best value for his money from profit-seeking providers seeking to expand sales in an environment of real competition – is the only moral way to “control costs” because people must consume in accordance with what they have earned and providers must price their products to their customers’ budgets. A government that “controls costs” ends up controlling people … i.e., ends up as a dictatorship.
In a free market “no one is going to come between patients and their doctors” because no one can come between patients and their insurers … or their healthcare dollars.