How many times must we find that when a government/bureaucratic imposed solution fails, the government/bureaucratic answer to that failure is to grow and expand it . . . and always at the expense to, and/or the detriment of, we, the people.
The Obama administration pushed through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), aka "Obamacare," by using parliamentary chicanery, making un-deliverable promises to legislators and citizens, keeping the actual words in the bill hidden from both, and passing the bill without a single vote from the opposition party Republicans.
The president and other politicians promised citizens utopian benefits that have not been, nor will they ever be, delivered. Thousands of pages of "regulations,, having the force of law, were added. Those regulations included items that would have prevented the original bill from being passed, even by Democrat-only legislators. Among those items that surfaced was the requirement that even religious individuals and organizations had to provide abortion services in violation of the tenets of their faith. When challenged, the government dug its heals in, forcing individuals and religious organizations to spend enormous sums of money bringing their pleas through the court system, right on up to the Supreme Court.
To a great extent, the PPACA/Obamacare threw out actuarial rules and imposed requirements on insurers that, quite frankly, defied common sense. For example, health insurance for a single, post-menopausal woman was required to include coverage for pregnancy, pre-natal care and abortion (e.g. the "morning after" pill). Even if a woman specifically asked not to have such coverage in her insurance policy, the insurance company could not exclude it. The policies were also forced to include "free" contraception for all women, even if such a requirement also violated the tenets of one's faith.
Requirements imposed on the insurance companies and the citizens resulted not in lower costs, as had been promised, but substantially higher costs. Added to that increase were sizeable "deductibles" that often made it impossible for average policy holders to afford visits to their doctors, as they had before. There are even more promises that haven't been fulfilled, but you get the point. And, reputable insurance companies lost hundreds of millions of dollars.
The term, "single payer" is an oblique way of saying that the government is going to "tax" each and every one of us for health care, will determine what medical services we may be eligible for and may be provided to us, and the government will determine what physicians, surgeons, and hospitals will be paid. A frightening thought!
Basically, single payer would expand Medicare to all citizens, the entire population. According to the Kaiser Foundation, in 2015, there were almost 56 million people on Medicare, about 18 percent of our population. According to a study by the state of Connecticut, the unfunded liabilities for Medicare, as it exists today, exceed $13 trillion, growing to a whopping $36 trillion over the longer term. This raises the question as to what the impact on our debt will be if instead of 56 million people being on Medicare, the number becomes almost six times larger, totaling 317 million people, and growing?
Aside from the financial nightmare that will severely bankrupt our country, what is even more frightening is the prospect of turning our excellent health care system over to bumbling bureaucrats who will oversee and dictate what medical services physicians and surgeons may perform. One of the authors of the PPACA was Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of the Chicago mayor. Dr. Emanuel is on the record as saying that when a person reaches the age of 75, he or she would have had a chance to see their children mature, and their grandchildren be born. And, in his opinion, once that age is reached, we should be willing to simply die and not be a burden on society.
In addition to the failures of the PPACA/Obamacare, we have been given a glimpse of government-run health care in the Veteran's Administration. While this is not to indict the dedicated health care workers within the VA, we have seen reports of management staffers cooking the books by repeatedly falsifying patient wait times. In a number of cases, in spite of all the negative publicity resulting from this genuine scandal, little has been done to correct the situation. In fact, the new head of the VA received four Pinocchio's from the Washington Post for his claim that 60 people were fired for their part in the wait time scandal, and Politifact called his claim, false.
Like it or not, if the government cannot effectively manage veteran's health care in spite of enormous increases in funding over the last the three presidencies, has unfunded Medicare liabilities that are twice the size of our national debt, has other failing bureaucratic departments such as energy and education, was unable to fire a single employee for the IRS scandal, how in the world can we even give a thought to allowing the government to take control over what is the finest health care system in the world?
Don't let it happen.
(Bob Meade is a resident of Laconia.)
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