Takes issue with health care view

Guest Viewpoint

To the News Enterprise:

In Viewpoint, Dan Alexander states that health care costs for this newspaper’s employees have been greatly increasing year over year despite major attempts to rein in costs. He admits that switching to a government-provided health plan would not only provide better coverage but save the company approximately $90,000 annually.

His concern seems to be that the government will have to raise taxes to finance massive defections from private plans. Why? It does not necessarily follow that taxes will need to be raised to cover costs.

My understanding is that the insurance business model finances itself very well when enough people enroll in a service. Thus, the need for a mandate. Even if taxes do need to be increased (within reason, of course), so what? The banks and Wall Street didn’t seem to object on moral (or any other) grounds to taking trillions of dollars of public money for themselves.

Experience and studies have shown that people are willing to pay taxes so long as the money is spent on the stated purposes and not diverted to special interest programs — such as bank bailouts.

The last paragraph is especially disturbing to me. The main argument is shifted from pragmatic dollars-and-cents to emotional appeals to fear: Loss of our freedom, proud people, Big Brother, government administration of health care will move us away from self-dependence, etc.

Whenever I hear this kind of talk, it sends up a red flag. The topic under discussion is the economics of universal healthcare coverage, not loss of freedoms. The real issue is that health care coverage and the business of health care are not compatible. The purpose of health coverage should be to provide health care to individuals; not provide a vicious business opportunity in which the profit motive always prevails over sound medical decisions.

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