Tuesday, April 7, 2009

It's All About the Control

I wish this were an April 1 joke, but unfortunately it isn't.

CoyoteBlog notes that, "Government health care initiatives are not about cheaper or better care. They are about control, and increased power for government officials."

He cites two stories to illustrate his point. First, via Carpe Diem:
The state is trying to shut down a New York City doctor’s ambitious plan to treat uninsured patients for around $1,000 a year. Dr. John Muney (pictured above) offers his patients everything from mammograms to mole removal at his AMG Medical Group clinics, which operate in all five boroughs. His patients agree to pay $79 a month for a year in return for unlimited office visits with a $10 co-pay.

"I'm trying to help uninsured people here," he said.But his plan landed him in the crosshairs of the state Insurance Department, which ordered him to drop his fixed-rate plan - which it claims is equivalent to an insurance policy. Muney insists it is not insurance because it doesn't cover anything that he can't do in his offices, like complicated surgery. He points out his offices do not operate 24/7 so they can’t function like emergency rooms. The state believes his plan runs afoul of the law because it promises to cover unplanned procedures - like treating a sudden ear infection - under a fixed rate. That's something only a licensed insurance company can do.

"I'm not doing an insurance business," he said. "I'm just providing my services at my place during certain hours." "If they leave me alone, I can serve thousands of patients," he said.
The second story is from the Washington Examiner:
The five plaintiffs, who now include former House Majority leader Dick Armey, are challenging a policy of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that denies Social Security benefits to anybody who refuses to enroll in Medicare.

Read that again: As the policy now stands, if you want to pay for your own health care rather than let taxpayers finance it through Medicare, government will not let you receive the Social Security benefits for which you have spent a lifetime paying taxes.

Note that nobody is trying to avoid contributing to Medicare. The plaintiffs merely want to decline the tax-funded benefits for which they already have paid. None of them want the bureaucracy, the governmental intrusions into their privacy, and the rationing of care they believe Medicare entails - so they volunteer to let taxpayers off the hook by providing their own health care coverage.

But DHHS won't let them. Or at least not if they want to receive Social Security benefits. Forfeit Medicare, says DHHS, and you must also forfeit Social Security even if you've paid for it for half a century.
In other words, the government is trying its hardest to stop individuals from using their own money to seek their own best interests through voluntary exchanges of goods and services, even if it might save the taxpayers some money.

These government policies show that it is indeed all about the control, rather than some alleged goal of promoting individuals' actual best interests.