Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Pueblo Chieftain Opposes 208 Commission

The February 6, 2008 edition of the Pueblo Chieftain included the following editorial against the proposals of the 208 Commission:
Mantra of a crisis

A CLASSIC way to get controversial legislation passed is to declare a "crisis."

That's why a number of politicians and activists have been crying about a "health care crisis" in recent years. After the mantra is repeated in the media long enough, some of the citizenry begin to believe it.

So it's not surprising that Colorado’s Blue Ribbon Commission for Health Care Reform reported last week it will recommend that the Legislature require all state residents to have at least a basic health insurance policy. This is the approach tried in Massachusetts and California and one which is advocated in one form or another by both Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Spokesmen for the Blue Ribbon group deny their approach is socialized medicine, but it's clearly a step toward that.

For one thing, their approach would provide a state subsidy on a sliding scale for lower-income Coloradans. Whenever government controls the purse strings, government dictates policy, whether for highways or health care.

The commission doesn't know how this new entitlement would be paid for, saying it was directed by the Legislature not to look at that side of the equation. However, Blue Ribbon members admit it would be expensive - billions in new expenditures, we'd guess.

While a certain percentage of people do not have health insurance, that doesn’t mean they don't get health care. All they have to do is show up at an emergency room and care will be provided.

While that's not the most efficient use of health care resources, it surely doesn't rise to the "crisis" threshold.

How about Massachusetts and California? In the Bay State, officials found out that about one-fifth of the population simply couldn't afford the mandated insurance, so those people were allowed to opt out of the program. As a result, the number of insured increased only marginally.

In California, someone was paying attention to the costs of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's universal care proposal, one which was a near carbon copy of the Massachusetts scheme. California Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata raised the issue of cost to a state government already running a $14.5 billion deficit.

An independent analysis found the plan would cost much more than proponents claimed. (We haven't seen a similar analysis in Colorado yet.)

When the California Senate Health Committee took a vote on ArnoldCare, the plan died when only one senator voted to send it to the floor. Call it a mercy killing.

It's axiomatic that people want three things out of health care: availability to all, high quality, and low cost. You can have any combination of two of those, but all three are simply impossible, despite what the advocates of a single payer system claim.

One only need to look north of the 49th Parallel to our neighbors in Canada to see the truth of that.

There will be much debate in the Legislature this year over the Blue Ribbon Commission's proposed health-care fixes. While that's going on, we advise readers to keep a tight grip on their wallets.
One thing that I found noteworthy was the fact that the editorial explicitly and correctly identified the 208 Commission's plans as a step towards socialized medicine. This is the term that the advocates of government-run medicine hate the most, precisely because they know it will arouse opposition amongst the citizenry. Good for the Chieftain!