Star Parker

Second, to see government health care at work, we don't need to look at Canada or Great Britain or Cuba. Fifty nine million Americans already have it. It's called Medicaid.

Medicaid was passed in 1965 to cover health care for poor Americans. It is a pure entitlement. If you qualify, you are covered. Government, both federal and state, pays.

Bureaucrats define what is covered and how much physicians will be paid. And, as result, there is a huge gap between being covered and actually getting health care.

On average, 40 percent of physicians won't accept Medicaid patients. They are paid less than what it costs them to provide the care. In a survey done last year by Merritt Hawkins, a healthcare manpower firm, 65 percent of physicians said reimbursements from Medicaid were less than their costs.

Merritt Hawkins did a survey this year of physicians of different specialties in fifteen different cities on acceptance of Medicaid patients. In Washington, D.C., for example, which has the highest incidence of children living in poverty in the country, only 63 percent of surveyed physicians in family practice will accept Medicaid patients.

A federal district appeals court ruled just a few weeks ago, affecting Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, that state Medicaid programs can't be forced to pay if they disagree with a doctor's decision regarding care. In this particular case, Medicaid officials disagreed with the amount of nursing care prescribed by a physician for a teenager who suffers seizures.

A study cited by Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a physician and health care expert at the American Enterprise Institute, showed Medicaid patients to be 50 percent more likely to die after heart bypass surgery than patients with private coverage or Medicare.

Move the whole nation onto a new government health care plantation?

No thanks. I'll take freedom and personal responsibility.

Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.