The American public is demonstrating obvious and sincere concern about what a health care overhaul will entail. And, it seems to me that shoving legislation down their throats will do very little to assuage those concerns, frustrations and fears.
There are too few shining examples of profitable and efficient government enterprise – take a gander at the failing postal service or struggling Amtrak, for example – for us to entrust the nation’s health care system to Washington’s management and oversight.
Ironically, in trying to make the case that private insurers could compete with a government option, President Obama stated himself that it's the government-backed postal service that's failing. At a townhall in New Hampshire earlier this month, President Obama stated:
"I mean, if you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? No, they are. It's the post office that's always having problems."
If that's the case, why in the world would we entrust our health care system which accounts for 18% of our nation's economy – not to mention the health and well-being of our loved ones – to the federal government? They can’t even run a used car exchange program called "Cash for Clunkers" effectively. They’ve got it so wrapped up in red tape that struggling car dealers can’t tell which end is up any more.
What Americans must be weary of is any legislation that gives more power and oversight to the federal government when it comes to your personal health care decisions. And, we must remember to look at long-term consequences as well. Some of the changes they are peddling will come quickly. But, others will come gradually over several months and years – and those are the ones to watch most carefully.
As Newt Gingrich points out:
"The point is not that a health care rationing system … will be implemented in the United States tomorrow.
"The point is that, as in the British system, once government becomes the single payer or even the main payer of health care, what were once intensely personal decisions become public decisions. And as costs rise, government will look for ways to contain them.
"The inevitable result of this pressure to control costs will be rationing, whether it occurs during this administration or the next. At some point, the government will be forced to deny care to those who don’t meet the latest “quality-adjusted life years” cost-benefit analysis.
"So the decision on what treatment to pursue that once would have been made by you and your doctor is now made for you by a bureaucrat using a formula -- a formula to literally determine if your life is worth saving."
Rather than increasing government control, we must reform the health care industry by empowering the American people and giving them control over their health and financial destinies. Allowing the government to make health care decisions for us is just asking for trouble.