Monday, June 15, 2009

President Obama looks to implement Canada's failing health care plan

The Government intrusion into the health care industry with a public option is a dangerous slope many do not fully realize. Take a look at the current entitlement programs – SSN, Medicare, Medicaid, and Veteran’s – as evidence that our national government cannot manage. There is no argument that health care industry costs are a contributing factor to our current and future economic condition. Trouble arises when President Obama pushes a public option that will lead to a single payer option. The one group standing in the way is the American Medical Association (AMA) since doctors are not mandated to take insurance for payment of services rendered.

President Obama will be meeting with the AMA today in Chicago to pitch his health care plan. John McCormick and Bruce Japsen report that,”AMA leaders said they are opposed to a government-funded option if it were to expand the Medicare health insurance program for the elderly to those under age 65, saying it would compound a ‘broken system’ doctors complain has reduced physician payments and is outdated in how it operates” in the Chicago Tribune. The “broken system” will get worse with a public plan as it will lead to a single payer plan run by the government.

The only way to get the public plan off the ground is if the national government mandates that the AMA must take the insurance. Mandating the public plan will start a trend with businesses dropping health care insurance from their benefits packages. With a public option there would be no financial benefit to a company to offer health care insurance.

Having a public option will create bigger government as they intrude into your choice of diet, exercise, and other personal choices one may want to make. All of this leads to government rationing of health care. David Gratzer, who is born and raised in Canada, warns us that, “I once believed that government health care is compassionate and equitable. It is neither” in his article Canada’s ObamaCare Precedent. David Gratzer goes on to share an example of “single payer” breakdown:

"The problems were brought home when a relative had
difficulty walking. He was in chronic pain. His doctor suggested a
referral to a neurologist; an MRI would be need to be done, then
possibly a referral to another specialist. The wait would have stretched
to roughly a year. If surgery was needed, the wait would be months more. Not wanting to stay confined to his house, he had the surgery done in the U. S., at the Mayo clinic, and paid for it himself.”

Thankfully Mr. Gratzer’s relative had the means to pay for his surgery but the people that President Obama is wanting to cover under the health care plan are those who could not have done what Mr. Gratzer’s relative did. The Canadian government is seeing private insurance groups gaining traction as an option to the government run program. Why cannot American lawmakers not learn from the situation in Canada that appears to be moving away from a single payer to a more capitalistic model?
Public engagement in setting priorities in health care is an article written by Rebecca Bruni, Andreas Laupacis, and Douglas Martin published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that discusses the amount of engagement with the public when setting priorities in health care. The summation of reality is “although we believe that the case for more public involvement is setting health care priorities is compelling, little high-quality evidence exists to support that assertion.” Who is going to determine the establishment of health care priorities in America?

With Congress’s main goal, not per the US Constitution, is to get re-elected, will only create more delays in an American version of public health care option. California has the largest group in Washington and struggles right now with their current budget. With a public option of health care, the Congressional regime from California can make decisions on priorities that will be the best interest of Californians which may or may not be in the best interest of the rest of America.

I have previously laid out a brief outline of a health care alternative. The first step to reform is to expand the options everyone has. The expansion of options does not include a creation of a public option run by the government; rather to expand flex accounts, establish medical saving plans, and allow someone from Minnesota to purchase health insurance from an insurer in Arizona. Competition will drive down costs and that is partly what the President is saying with his public option too.