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Health Care Non-Sequiturs

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The current health care conundrum is filled with health care non-sequiturs, or conclusions that don't make sense based on their premises. This has resulted in confusion and confabulation due to people arguing the conclusions -- when the premises used to reach those conclusions do not make sense.

Health care reform uses the word reform, therefore it must be good. No, it depends on what is passed into law. We should simply refer to "health care changes."

If you are against the House and Senate bills, then you are against health care reform. No, in fact it only means you are against the House and Senate versions of health care changes. You could be for or against health care changes in a different version.

You would also be with the majority of American voters. According to a Rasmussen Report published last Saturday, 54 percent of voters say "no health care reform passed by Congress this year" would be better than the current bill. Only 35 percent of voters say passing the bill "would be better than not passing any health care reform legislation this year."

A public option will result in lower cost and more access for citizens.

No, a public option will result in a large government entity. There is no evidence that such an option would provide lower cost and more access -- many believe it would result in inefficiency and less personal control.

The government has money to fund health care changes.

No, the government does not have any money -- the government gets citizens' money either through taxing people or borrowing from future generations.

Doing something with health care is better than doing nothing.

It could be better or worse than doing nothing. It depends on what ends up in health care changes.

If you are against President Obama's proposal, then you are against a system that provides choice and competition. No, you might believe that the path the president is taking will not lead to choice and competition for the consumer.

What are the underlying beliefs that are leading to these different trains of thought? The underlying determining factor might be whether you believe more government is helpful or hurtful.

Americans are overwhelmingly conservative. When describing their views in a Gallup poll released in June, conservative is the answer given by 40 percent of Americans. Thirty-five percent say moderate, and 21 percent say liberal. This means that more Americans are inclined to believe less government is better than more government.

In addition, government activity in other areas has not inspired citizens to believe that more government is better.

More than half of Americans "say it would have been better for the government to have spent less money to stimulate the economy," according to another Gallup poll released Tuesday. Many of these same people might be skeptical that the government should spend even more money, regardless of how good the intent.

"Americans provide a less-than-enthusiastic endorsement of the impact of the No Child Left Behind Act," according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday. "Of those familiar with the act, 21 percent say it has made the education received by public school students in the United States better, while almost half, 45 percent, say it has made no difference, and 29 percent say it has made public school students' education worse."

So, if it didn't work on education, why would you think big government would work on health care?

We should first fix the system we have (Medicare inefficiencies, fraud, tort reform, allow purchasing between states and electronic medical records) before creating a new government entity. In addition, we should continue to reach the underserved through Federally Qualified Health Centers, which "currently serve about 20 million people and receive approximately $2 billion a year from the federal government," according to a column written last Friday by Bob Herbert titled "Hard to Believe."

In the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the only area where liberals outnumber conservatives is in Washington, D.C., according to a Gallup poll released Friday. This discrepancy in core beliefs between the American people and Washington, D.C., might explain why "Democrats Seem Set to Go It Alone on a Health Care Bill," according to a New York Times article published Wednesday, while the majority of the country is conservative.

One more health care non-sequitur.

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