Sunday, November 22, 2009

Change is not necessarily reform

The Senate sent The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (this 2074 page, 2.5 MB PDF file might take a while to download) to the floor for debate. I support health care reform and I support universal health care. Since this Act is neither, I oppose it.

The root cause of our health care system's problems is the health insurance industry. Insurance adds zero value to the health care process, yet it still manages to consume thirty percent of the insured's health care costs. The most effective way to eliminate a large portion of the problems with our legacy health care system is to eliminate health insurance.

Unfortunately, instead of eliminating health insurance, this bill requires individuals to purchase it. The bill turns 94% of Americans into a captive market for the health insurance industry. The health insurance industry does not behave in the best interest of its insured when they have to compete to attact premiums. Consider how much less accountable the industry would be if Americans were forced by the government to buy their coverage.

The bill sets up an insurance exchange to create competition. But the industry already has an exchange: it's called the marketplace. As a free enterprise society, we believe that the free market is the most efficient of all exchanges. Yet, all the marketplace has done for health insurance is to provide worse service and higher premiums. I see no reason to think an arbitrarily contrived exchange would be any better.

The health care bill the Senate will debate is not reform; it's just change. As bad as our legacy health care system is, simply tinkering around the edges of it, as the Senate bill does, would most likely only result in an even worse system. The way to real reform of America's health care system is to implement a single payer system.

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