Thursday, September 10, 2009

Whose Business Is Your Health Care?

Former Colorado state senator Mark Hillman asks, "Whose business is your health care?"

Here are some excerpts:
...It never ceases to amaze when politicians who demagogue against "greedy" insurance companies will, in their next breath, require us to buy things through an insurance company that we could purchase less expensively if we simply paid out of pocket.

If both you and your doctor know that you need a colonoscopy, how can it possibly be cheaper for you to send your payment to an insurance company, while the doctor files a claim with that insurance company, and the insurance company processes the claim and issues payment -- rather than for you to simply pay the doctor?

Yet ObamaCare would establish a mandatory list of insurable procedures as well as maximum deductibles. For those with money-saving high-deductible plans and health savings accounts — like the one I've had for 12 years -- the President’s promise that we can keep the plan we have just doesn't wash.

Americans who are understandably frustrated by health care costs are recognizing that the more control you give to government the more control you give to government.

Today, if you, your doctor and your insurer agree on a procedure, you make an appointment and "get 'er done." And if you can't agree, you are free to pursue other procedures that you can pay for yourself. (After all, what good is an extra $50,000 in your retirement account if you're dead?)

But if no one practices those alternative procedures because omnipotent health care bureaucrats won't pay for them, you are out of luck.

The larger point is this: Why is it government's business how much you pay, what doctor you see, or what treatment you receive, so long as you are paying the bill?
(Read the full text of "Whose business is your health care?")

Hillman also makes the (too often) underappreciated point that health care is a commodity, subject to all the usual real-world laws of economics:
If the government is empowered to supervise everyone's health care, then only two outcomes are possible: either everyone's health care is rationed to control costs or no one's health care is rationed and the cost of government health care finally breaks the camel's back, ushering in a worthless dollar, runaway inflation and skyrocketing interest rates.

...There can be no health care utopia any more than everyone can enjoy all they want to eat or live in the home of their dreams. Sooner or later, someone must choose between what we want and what we can afford.

Who do you want to make those tough choices -- yourself or someone in government?
Hillman is asking the questions that all of us should be asking ourselves.