First, let us tackle this young man’s premise. The USA might be the richest nation on earth in terms of its natural resources and GDP, but that doesn’t mean that this country is rolling in the dough and can’t find enough ways to spend it. We are a nation currently mired in nearly $20 trillion dollars of debt. On top of that, the government owes the people of this country an amount equal to nearly ten times that—though that debt isn’t on the books. This can hardly be construed as wealth. In addition, the amount of our debt is contingent upon the stability of the U.S. dollar and, as of now, nothing indicates this enormous amount is about to be reduced any time soon.
Second, let’s look at the infrastructure of healthcare coverage. Today, healthcare insurance is largely still in the hands of the private sector, although it is regulated to some degree by the Federal Drug Administration and by the requirements imposed by the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare). If we move to governmental, single-payer health insurance by insisting that every American is insured because it is a right, the future of the healthcare industry will be seriously in jeopardy. Everyone knows nothing the government runs works cost effectively or efficiently.
Now, let’s get to the meat of the matter and discuss what we all should be concerned about: taxation. The minute the federal government moves to single-payer, it will be sustaining a healthcare system solely on the back of the taxpayers. Oh, believe me, there are plenty of people out there who actually think if the federal government provides it, then it is free. Who do you think that young caller thinks is paying for his coverage? Certainly not him! Once the government gets its claws in the American taxpayer for Washington-run healthcare, I promise you that you will pray for a return to the normal income tax issues of the IRS. But then, remember: those who do not buy any health insurance are already penalized by the IRS, right? As Justice John Roberts reasoned, the penalty is a tax.
Every nation that has universal healthcare must tax its population hugely to support it, effectively making them wards of the state. According to Tim Worstall, a Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute in London and contributor to Forbes magazine, “[In America] the vision is of one bureaucracy collecting all the money from 320 million people and then doling it out again on a national basis. And the sums would be eyewatering - $2 trillion sounds about right. 10-12% of GDP is that roughly right number for providing full health care to everyone.” With this kind of disincentive, more and more people might decide it is easier to live on the dole. That, in turn, would lead to a larger class of “takers” than “producers.” And when the takers outnumber the producers, you get rationing and price gouging.
Of course, no discussion on health insurance would be complete without tort reform. In an encouraging move, on June 28th, the House passed legislation capping at $250,000 the amount plaintiffs can seek for non-economic damages resulting from medical malpractice. It also establishes a three-year statute of limitations after the injury, or one year after its discovery. If passed by the Senate and signed by President Trump, physicians’ insurance premiums will drop and, as Congressman Darrell Issa noted, “We spend billions every year on unnecessary procedures just to shield providers from possible lawsuits and it makes health care more expensive for all of us.” Two other, non-health insurance tort reform measures are being considered as well: one targets frivolous lawsuits, the other class action lawsuits.
We are on the right track as long as we don’t give in to the notion that we need to embrace universal healthcare because every developed country has done so. It is far more complicated than that and, even if our educational institutions are uniformly liberal, they should at least be teaching young people how to think, not what to think.
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