Posted by Charles   

The term National Health Care has been used quite often thus far by candidates vying for a party nomination. It generally makes people feel good inside to say things like “health care for all”; and yes it is a very noble idea and one which I do believe in. I do not however, feel that a new Federal agency, or new taxes are a long term solution.

There is an old saying “those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”, however we need only look at the present to understand a National Health Care system would be catastrophic to our economy, and even to our Nation’s health. Thus far only John Edwards has released his “plan” for a National Health Care system, while both Obama and Clinton simply stating they intend on implementing a National Health Care system if elected.

The New York Times had an article last month discussing the details of Edward’s plan, and here it is in a nutshell:

The Edwards plan would provide tax credits or subsidies to low-income families who cannot afford health insurance, expand Medicare and the federal program of health care for children, and create a federal health insurance agency that could become the basis for a single-payer system that would eventually do away with private health insurance.

After looking at the Edwards plan, it is easy to see why both Obama and Clinton are holding off on announcing their own ideas; it just simply will not work. Edwards advocates, giving money to low-income families, expanding Medicare (which incidentally is intended for low income families), create a Federal Health Insurance Agency and do away with private health insurance.

After watching how poorly FEMA has performed in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, do we really believe a new Federal Agency should be put in charge of our Health Care? Government entities are overly bogged down in beaurocracy and paperwork as is evidenced by the 111,000 pages which make up the Medicare guidelines doctor’s are required to follow.

Medicare itself is an excellent example of a poorly run Government run entity. According to the Congressional Budget Office, last years Medicare spending was $374 billion dollars, with an estimated spending this year of $428 billion (a 14% increase). Based on actual 2006 numbers, our Government is spending approximately $9,350 a year per Medicare recipient. The cost for the average American to receive comparable coverage is $4,200 annually (Source).

I will forego the usual argument against a National Health Care system, which is to talk about the atrocious Health Care offered in Canada and Britain; instead let’s look at the solution.

Newt Gingrich and Vince Haley wrote an excellent article for Medical Progress Today concerning the benefits of Health Savings Accounts. They discuss companies which have instituted these plans and have already realized significant savings.

  • A Ohio small business with 66 employees (Ohio Waste Water) is saving $207,566 (or 37%) on health insurance premiums in 2004 with a HSA Plan.
  • A New Hampshire self employed small business owner, Herve Riel, is saving $6,600 (or 66%) on his individual health insurance coverage in 2004 with a HSA plan.
  • An Iowa small business counseling service with 8 employees is saving $14,740 (or 32%) on health insurance premiums in 2004 with a HSA plan.
  • An Iowa small business OB-GYN clinic with 13 employees is saving $40,608 (or 38%) on health insurance premiums in 2004 with a HSA plan.
  • A Minnesota small business with 15 employees (Mercury Office Supply) is saving $12,000 in 2004 with a HSA plan.
  • A Minnesota small business with 18 employees is saving $20,000 (or 23%) in 2004 with a HSA Plan.
  • A Wisconsin small business owner, Dr. Jeffrey Wilder, is saving $8,400 (or 70%) on his family health insurance coverage in first year with a HSA plan.
  • Of the estimated 47 million people currently uninsured, almost 19 million are between the ages of 18 and 34 (Source). This is due in large part to States which have “guarantee issue” laws, allowing individuals who do not feel they need medical insurance to forego purchasing it until such a time they do need it. In those states which have “guarantee issue” laws, insurance companies are required to cover these individuals. The same census also shows over 15 million people earning over $50,000 per year do not have insurance (although it does not state how many people are members of both of the above mentioned groups). The fact of the matter is, these individuals have access to medical insurance and make the decision not to utilize it.

    Health Savings Accounts would provide these individuals with an alternative to insurance premiums. By investing in a Health Savings account, approximately half of uninsured Americans would not only realize an initial tax break, they would also be saving for their future. HSA’s operate similarly to IRA accounts, meaning the money will accumulate tax deferred, and any money unused in an HSA account remains the property of the individual.

    If given the choice, I am certain the majority of Americans would prefer to be in control of their own Health Care, as opposed to allowing a Government run entity decide which procedure’s are necessary and which are not.

    As Ronald Reagan once said “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help’.”

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