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By Olin Potter
Health care legislation currently moving through Congress has attracted the attention of the "grassroots" voters and for a very good reason. It will impact everyone except the Washington elites. If Congress gets the final version wrong it will be very difficult to correct later. That is why everyone should make their views known.
One of the chief ingredients to getting the legislation right is to be certain that free market competition is offered with enough differing insurance plans to meet individual needs. Two important items here: One, the plans offered should be available uniformly in all states, not stopping at the borders as they do in Medicare and Part D prescription drug programs; two, the offered plans cannot include one run by the government.
If a government plan is offered under whatever name it is called (Public Option, Single Payer, etc.) it will shortly put all of the free market offerings out of business by having lower premiums, with the bureaucratic costs and subsidies shifted to indirect taxes. For example, look at the record of the state of Maine (published in the WSJ, 21 Aug. 09) which has this "public option" competing with private plans. Their taxpayer-subsidized plan for lower income people was supposed to be paid for by "savings" in the health care system. Sounds just like "Obamacare"? Yup! The savings were developed by lowering payments to physicians and hospitals.
Government-run programs are always a financial disaster. Example: Social Security, run by the government, is a pure Ponzi scheme. The fewer younger wage earners pay off the increasing number of older retirees. Congress knows that this thing will go bankrupt in a few years but does nothing. Ever since President Johnson transferred all the scheduled surplus funds to pay for other social programs and congressional pork, they have insured that a financial train wreck will occur. Oh, but they left an IOU for the money they stole for others to pay.
Other examples of congressional financial idiocy include Am-Trak and Fanny Mae/Freddy Mac, all resulting in subsidy by our tax money.
No, we must make certain that the government sticks to their job of setting up the rules, with oversight and then "get out of the way" for the free market to provide the lowest cost health care for us all.
There are many proposed new plans flying around in Washington for the Senate to consider including HR 3200 (I think) that the representatives passed with lightning speed. They all have ways to increase our taxes and make no mistake about it this is one more of Obama's plans for federal government operations. The other two are public education and energy, resulting in centralized government control. This smacks of socialism or worse.
It is hard for people to get a handle on the intricacies of just this one program. For help in sorting lies from facts, it may be of help to look at two web sites and compare notes: factcheck.org and snopes.com.
Potter lives in Waitsfield.