Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Diana Hsieh LTE in Rocky Mountain News

My letter to the editor to the Rocky Mountain News responding to Paul Campos' column on "myths" about American healthcare was published in full on the web on February 5th. (It was not published in the print version.) Here it is:
Paul Campos ("Our Sickly Healthcare," Jan 30) notes the enormous influence of the government on America's ailing market for medical care. Yet he misses the obvious: government meddling is the fundamental source of those ills. His proposal for more government-controlled medicine--for socialized medicine--would be a disaster for medical providers and patients alike.

Already, government bureaucrats set prices by arbitrary fiat via the Medicare system, then overwhelm doctors with paperwork and regulations. Already, consumers are encouraged to pursue medical care without regard for cost, thanks to tax laws encouraging employers to provide medical insurance for even routine expenses. Already, taxpayers are burdened with the cost of ever-growing medical entitlement programs. Already, FDA regulations drive up the cost of life-saving drugs and prevent doctors from prescribing drugs known to be safe. The result of that government meddling is an expensive bureaucratic labyrinth that prevents healthcare providers--doctors, nurses, drug companies, hospitals, clinics--from providing the best medical care for the patient's dollar.

The solution to these problems is not more paternalistic government regulations, bureaucracy, and entitlements. It is to allow--and require--people to take personal responsibility for their own health by separating medicine and state.

Diana Hsieh
The Rocky Mountain News allows comments on letters; you can post them on this page.