Robert E. Moffit
Congressional conservatives need to offer America a positive vision of health reform based on personal freedom, choice and voluntary collaboration.
Americans face a stark choice on what their health care will look like in the future.
They can adopt a government-run health-care system, financed by new and heavy federal taxation, with federal officials making all the key decisions about medical benefits and services. Or, they can adopt a system in which individuals control health-care dollars and decisions, including the kinds of health plans, benefits and treatments that best suit their needs.
Option one, commonly referred to as a “single payer system,” makes health care a government monopoly. Option two, based on personal choice, relies on voluntary collaboration and competition among plans and providers to control health care costs.
Today, we have neither.
What we have is a highly bureaucratic system: one in which the government controls financing for roughly half of U.S. health care; one in which personal choice and competition are rapidly declining; one in which the health-care costs are excessive. Additionally, federal officials are exercising detailed regulatory control over health plans, benefits and even the practice of medicine itself.
Despite President Obama’s insistence that Obamacare would not be a government “takeover” of health care, hardly any component of American health care today, courtesy of Obamacare, is insulated from federal regulation and control. Given the general direction of current policy, the trajectory is toward a single-payer system, not away from it.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, with the cosponsorship of sixteen Senate Democrats, has decided to give the current drift to a government monopoly a giant shove by introducing “The Medicare for All Act of 2017.” The bill would replace private health insurance, including employer-sponsored health insurance, with a new and expanded version of the traditional Medicare program.
Rep. John Conyers has already introduced a similar “Medicare for All” bill, cosponsored by 117 House Democrats, more than half of all Democrats in the lower chamber.