Frank Pastore

All this health care talk can sometimes get confusing.

Who doesn’t want better health care for less money? I’d love to pay less for my insurance as long as I could still go to the doctors of my choice, the hospitals of my choice, and get the procedures and treatments of my choice. I’d like my prescription drugs to be cheaper too. I don’t want to wait several weeks to get in to see a doctor, and when I get in, I want the comfort of knowing that he or she is qualified to do what I expect.

I want all of this, and I’m sure you do too. Who doesn’t?

But, this isn’t what the health care debate is really about.

Let me be politically incorrect and state the obvious.

The rich will always be able to get the quality health care they want because they can simply buy it. But the poor cannot get quality care, because they simply can’t afford it. If they’re going to get health care at all, it will have to be given to them for free, or nearly free. The vast majority of us somewhere in the middle simply want to continue getting the best health care we can afford while paying for only our “fair share” and not being taken advantage of. We want the biggest bang for our buck without being played for fools.

The real issue in the current health care debate isn’t about the rich or the middle class, however. It’s about the poor and the best way to provide them free services without ruining the whole system for everybody else.

Liberals look to Europe and Canada as examples, believing that socialized medicine is the solution.

Conservatives believe that would be exactly the wrong way to go. We want less government in health care, not more. We want more market dynamics in the process and we want to allow people more ownership over their health care decisions. We believe this will solve most of the current problems and greatly improve the entire health care system without having to overcorrect, panic and hit the “HillaryCare” button.

There’s one fundamental dynamic that must be changed in our health care system, whether we go the liberal or the conservative route, and it has to do with basic human nature.

If something is free, it will be undervalued, underappreciated, taken for granted with a sense of entitlement, over-consumed, and ultimately wasted before finally being rationed. Think of those cafeteria-style restaurants with an all-you-can-eat buffet. Would we get healthier people and waste less food by giving them a “Free Buffet Coupon” every day for dinner or a $20 bill and the choice of ordering off a menu and keeping the change?

Obviously, someone does pay for the “free” healthcare provided to the poor: the American taxpayer.

Frank Pastore

The Frank Pastore Show is heard in Los Angeles weekday afternoons on 99.5 KKLA and on the web at, and is the winner of the 2006 National Religious Broadcasters Talk Show of the Year. Frank is a former major league pitcher with graduate degrees in both philosophy of religion and political philosophy.
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