Friday, November 6, 2009

Arizona Congressman John Shadegg Offers Common Sense Health Care Reform Alternatives

Democrats seem to believe that a lie becomes a fact if repeated often enough. The lie that has been at the heart of the Leftist Democrats' defense of their hostile takeover of the American health care system goes something like this: "Well, if Republicans had any ideas we would listen, but they just want the status quo." President Barry Vladimir Hussein Soetero Obama has repeated the Big Lie ad nauseum as he plots his unconstitutional usurpation.

Today's Wall Street Journal features an op-ed by Arizona congressman John Shadegg is which the dedicated defender of the Constitution clearly refutes the Big Lie. First, Shadegg defines the problem:

It is true that many Americans cannot find affordable health coverage. However, it is the government-imposed barriers that make coverage expensive, especially for the working poor in America. Fixing these problems would cost the taxpayer absolutely nothing, yet congressional Democrats refuse to consider these no-cost solutions.

The already high cost of insurance is often increased by excessive state regulations. States have passed more than 1,800 benefit mandates, requiring insurance companies to cover services from hair prostheses (wigs) to infertility treatments to acupuncturists to massage therapists. These state mandates raise the cost of insurance, which, in turn, increases the number of Americans who are priced out of the health-insurance market.

You may be thinking, what if I don't need a hair prosthesis or infertility treatments? Tough luck. Instead of having a choice in coverage you do need, you'll likely be paying for health insurance at an exorbitant cost to cover things you may never use or desire.

Contrary to what the Statists would like you to think, Big Government has been at the heart of the problem. The high costs in health care are not a function of the free market. They are largely the result of over-regulation. The Leftist Democrat solution? Let's have even more regulation and interference. Shadegg proposes a different path:

The solution: Allow American families to purchase health coverage across state lines. According to a study by the University of Minnesota, 12 million more Americans would be able to buy coverage if this simple solution were enacted into law.

Another no-cost solution? Give Americans the option to take the cash their employer uses to purchase health care and let them buy a plan on their own. If they are happy with their current plan, let them keep it. If not, let them take their business elsewhere and buy their own health coverage. This would force the insurance industry to innovate and control costs, or face losing
business to companies that do.

Americans should also be able to purchase their health insurance on the same tax-advantaged basis as their employers. If your employer purchased health insurance on your behalf today, he would be able to do so with pre-tax dollars. However, in today's market, if you go it alone, you won't get any tax incentive to purchase your own health care. This would be a simple remedy to our still antiquated tax code, which favors big government and punishes individuals.

Allowing insurance portability and fixing the tax code is just a cost-savings start. How about enacting restrictions on runaway medical malpractice litigation such as pre-litigation review panels and loser-pay provisions for frivolous suits? Making any one of these changes to our health-care system wouldn't cost taxpayers a single cent and could save us billions over the long

These ideas considered separately or enacted together will reduce costs for those who have health-insurance coverage and enable others to afford it. The savings could be used to fund high-risk pools for individuals with pre-existing conditions, and to provide tax credits and vouchers so no American goes without basic health coverage.
Conservatives have pushed many of these ideas for years with Democrats fighting tooth-and-nail against any reform that doesn't give government greater power over our lives. The ideas presented by Congressman Shadegg (none are new--Conservatives have talked about these for years) would reduce health care costs and enable more Americans to be able to purchase their own policies. One additional reform not mentioned in Shadegg's essay is to allow small businesses, members of organizations and other groups to create pools that could help spread the risk and lower costs.

But rather than consider these common sense proposals, congressional Democrats are insisting we push through a new trillion-dollar government controlled scheme.

Proponents of ObamaCare can't cite one shred of evidence that giving politicians and Washington bureaucrats more power and control will produce better quality health care or lower costs. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office admitted it has had no time to study exactly how much the bill will increase premiums for average Americans—something it routinely does for health-care legislation that is moving through Congress.

Does anyone believe the billions in new taxes as well as hundreds of pages of new rules and regulations being proposed will lower the cost of health care in America? But not knowing how much this will harm families didn't stop Congress from advancing one of the most sweeping pieces of legislation our nation has ever seen. That's scary and irresponsible.

Why aren't we trying, or even debating, these no-cost solutions that insert choice into the health-care reform equation? Before Congress acts and passes an expensive, untested, new health-care system, the American people need to be heard.

The answer is simple. Power and ideology. Government solutions, even if they solve nothing, make the state more powerful. The Democrat Party is now dominated by Marxists who, despite all evidence to the contrary, believe that only the state can deliver the services needed by a people. Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and their fellow travelers are extremists and they will stop at nothing to control every aspect of how you and I live. After all, the government always knows best.

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