To the Editor:
I watch in frustration as the presidential candidates describe their proposals for government control of part or all of the medical insurance for US residents of all ages and citizenship status. At least most of them admit (for now) that a wholesale government takeover of medical insurance is unworkable.
Joe Biden’s siren song is that in order to avoid the destruction of 180 million citizens’ private health insurance, there’ll be a “public option” instead. However, this will also destroy everyone’s private health insurance.
With “public option,” most employers will immediately stop offering private health care plans and tell their employees that they can get their insurance from the government. Then two-thirds of the workers will find their private insurance gone immediately. Some (mostly union workers) will have their private plans still alive for a couple of years. However, once the insurance providers have lost 10-15% of their customer base, they’ll fold. Their financial margins can’t handle the loss of that much faithfully paying business. They can’t compete with the federal government, which can just print money and tax everyone to pay for it. Any “public option” scheme has the exact same flaw as a “universal” plan, it just moves the flaw down into the implementation phase instead of the pen-and-ink wording of the plan.
With the private insurers gone, it won’t matter that individuals have contracts for good coverage. If there are no insurance companies to buy the insurance from, they too will have to go onto the government run system, and one of their most hard fought gains of the past 80 years will be gone – an unintentional side effect of a nice sounding but flawed scheme. Details DO matter, and it’s the net result that counts, not just the words written into the law.
The reason for this is that “public option” approaches don’t attack any of the actual causes of high insurance costs. Our lawmakers should roll up their sleeves and correct some of the myriad actual causes of the problem.
Needed actions include bringing industrial production back to US shores where businesses can hire US workers and pay good wages. Also remove dis-incentives that pressure doctors to purchase absurd levels of liability insurance, retire early, order thousands of costly unnecessary tests to protect from lawsuits, and several other specific solutions to the actual problems.
JEFF MILLER, of Ottawa