Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Putting out the fire of healthcare takeover

As State Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner, the safety and protection of our
citizens is my job. That is what Georgians elected me to do. That is why I cannot
be silent about the government takeover of healthcare that the U.S. House of Representatives
is proposing this week. If your mental smoke alarm has batteries, it should be going
off now.

First, a government takeover of anything usually results in higher prices and poorer
service. Think about what has happened to our schools with the price-per-pupil continuing
to rise and test scores staying flat or only inching up. The unions, such as the
National Education Association, have resisted educational choice with every fiber
in their being. They have used dues from hard-working Georgia teachers to lobby
against even the most basic educational choice. Obama's so called "public-option"
is nothing more than the first step of government takeover.

The government acquisition of General Motors may save the Camaro and the Corvette,
but may give the new company such an unfair financial advantage that it drives Ford
Motor Company to the brink of bankruptcy. This kind of meddling in the private sector
was certainly not a mandate from any voter back in November. And if the members
of Congress aren't careful, they are going to allow the president to do the same
thing to the healthcare network in America.

Second, destroying the private sector in healthcare would substitute bureaucratic
planning and control for competition and consumer choice. I realize that the word
"destroying" sounds pretty strong. But when you are able to undercut the private
healthcare market, and then add a trillion dollars of new taxes to pay for it, the
result will be companies going out of business. And, all the while, workers likely
will be forced into the government-sponsored plan simply because it is less costly
for employers, even though the care may be inferior. In a word, a monopoly is created.
And when that monopoly can decide whether you live or die, it is too powerful.
How did a country built on the entrepreneurial spirit ever get to a point where
we take glee in seeing the freemarket punished and forced into bankruptcy? This
is not the kind of leadership we need in Washington, Atlanta-or Moscow for that
matter.

Third, as the government-run healthcare plan gobbles up business, there would be
no incentive to improve quality or increase efficiency, but instead we'll see eventual
efforts to control costs by restricting access and choice-such as happens now in
England and Canada. When the good people of Georgia have to wait months or years
for surgery or specialized medical care, we'll know the house is on fire. Access
and Choice will decrease-not increase.

The societal engineers who want to tear down the private sector in health insurance
don't want to be honest about the "uninsured" statistics either. They pad the numbers
with illegal aliens, with young people who choose not to be insured (because they
often think they are invincible), and with people in transition between jobs. So,
before we take such drastic action, let's do more to encourage the non-profit clinics
out there providing a medical home to the uninsured-clinics such as the Good Samaritan
Health Center in Atlanta and the Athens Neighborhood Health Center.

Fourth, have you ever thought that if government can't afford to finance existing
programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, then providing health
care for all our citizens might really be tricky? We must wake up and smell the
smoke before it's too late.

I travel the state frequently and often tout the importance of changing the batteries
in smoke detectors and testing the equipment at least once per year. Fellow citizens,
the detector in all our brains is beeping incessantly trying to warn us of a disaster
that awaits if we allow this takeover. Yet, our smooth talking president and his
big-government allies in the U.S. Congress are telling us it is a false alarm and
urging everyone to return to business as usual. This is a mistake, and as a statewide-elected
official in Georgia, I must urge you to tell your Congressman to vacate this hasty
plan and return to sanity.

Finally, let's think about the future. Do you possibly want to saddle your children,
your nieces and nephews, and even your grandchildren with trillions of future tax
payments when we can't pay the debt we already have?

The house is on fire-but the fire can be put out. Call the White House and the U.S.
House of Representatives today and tell them to back away from this ill-considered
government takeover of healthcare. Urge them to delay this rushed effort to socialize
the best medical system in the world.

By Commissioner John Oxendine

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1 comment:

Janet Brown said...

The private sector and competitive market forces, not the federal government, are the best means to meeting our country’s rapidly expanding health care needs. One of the things I think we can do to help make that happen is support American businesses and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (http://bit.ly/oanAT). They’re doing things to reach out and show people that they can get involved, too.