I love a good debate. Really, I do. Surprisingly, some of the best debates I had were in high school - before people got really good at mixing insults into their arguments. Before it got personal. Because in high school most of the bigger issues were purely hypothetical for us and somewhat abstract as well. Because we didn't have much personal experience with the issues we were debating we had to actually DO our research rather than rely on limited personal experience and gut feeling as the basis of our argument.
Thanks to Facebook I am still in touch with many of the people I went to high school with and the current national discussion surrounding health care has sparked some interesting discussions. And so far those discussions are quite similar to the ones we had in high school - respectful, intelligent, informed. I like it.
The other day a friend of mine posted a comment along the lines of "Can't we all agree that the system as it is is broken and we can work together to make it better?". A very valid question. My response was that I would agree with that as long as we can also agree that allowing government involvement in the solution is NOT an option (I should have used the word 'solution' instead of 'option').
I have written a few times about nationalized health care and my thoughts on that idea. Anyone who knows me - even remotely - knows that my Libertarian leanings prevent me, on a fundamental basis, from thinking that involving the government in ANY way is a good idea. The answer is LESS government involvement, not more.
This really isn't rocket science. If we, as a nation, truly want to "fix" the health INSURANCE problem in this country (because health CARE isn't the issue - anyone can walk into a hospital and receive treatment, regardless of ability to pay), there are really only three things we need to look at:
1.) tort reform
2.) allow co-ops/bargaining groups
3.) allow for interstate commerce and competition among the PRIVATE insurance companies
NONE of these involve MORE government. Not one. The Federal government (whether under Democratic, Republican, or alien reign) cannot run itself properly. What makes us think it would be a good idea to let it run the health insurance industry? The definition of "insanity" is doing the same thing over and over and over, expecting a different result.
There are very few things that I want - and I would suspect others want - from a properly functioning health insurance industry:
1.) Choice. Let ME choose what doctor I see and what health insurance plan fits my needs and the needs of MY family. The government doesn't know me or my family; nor does the Fed know what is best for us. It's MY family. Let ME choose.
2.) Access. Let me have access to the care I need, when I need it. Let me have an insurance plan that goes with me when I change - or LOSE - my job.
3.) Fairness. If I am going to pay for my own health insurance, let me have the same tax breaks as an individual that employees receive. Then redirect the government assistance to those that truly need it.
4.) Responsibility. Let me have more control over my own health care decisions. Let me have a system that encourages the elimination of waste and fraud, and abuse (hint: the government does not do this. LOOK at the military. LOOK at Congress.) Let me decide whether or not I even want to be involved in this plan in the first place. But don't absolve me (at the cost of tax-payer dollars) of the consequences of my decisions.
It's really not that hard. And for those of you that would argue against a Republican alternative to ObamaCare, do me a favor and go check out Ron Wyden's (D - OR) plan. It's one of the better one's I've seen or read about. I don't care what political party someone is affiliated with (hey we can't all be perfect...or Libertarian). I care whether or not the idea/proposal meets my criteria.
I will agree that our health INSURANCE system is busted. Our health CARE system is one of the best in the world. Now we just need to get the government out of it's way.