ERROL CASTENS: More government will not solve health care problems

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

Those leading the charge for health care reform, as embodied in the five-ream bill under consideration in Congress, tout it as compassionate.
But compassion, forced through the filter of legislation and bureaucracy, usually comes out as similar to the milk of human kindness as a cowpie is to a cow.
Nobody doubts we need health care reform, but there are many who don’t want health care overseen by the same lovely folks who control customer service at the Post Office or security on the Mexican border.
We could start instead with portable health insurance: Few people work for the same company for 40 years anymore, and changing jobs shouldn’t mean financial Russian roulette.
Then we might open state borders to insurance shoppers so there would be real market competition.
We ought to know what medical services cost and how different providers rate so we can shop for the best combinations of price, quality and service – just as we do with tires, bread or mortgages.
And there ought to be a better balance between protection of patients and the courts-as-lotteries medical malpractice game.
The whole concept of medical savings accounts and catastrophic coverage would return medical insurance to what it was intended to be – a safety net to protect us from disasters that could otherwise bankrupt us, not something to insulate us from the occasional sacrifice.
Proponents are trying to force – or foist, if you please – upon American citizens a whole new, far-reaching bureaucracy through a bill they don’t like by people they don’t trust in a process in which the people have not been heard.
They say it’ll save money by fixing Medicare fraud. If they couldn’t control fraud before, why should we believe them now?
They say it’ll lower the deficit. They’re the same folks under whom Social Security will have its own deficit this year – just the first full year of Baby Boomer retirements.
Our national debt is on track to surpass our gross domestic product soon, yet the Obama administration is determined to expand the government as though our credit is limitless.
I try not to be an alarmist. I try to be reasonable, rational and even optimistic. But the United States is the biggest debtor on Earth, and scripture says, “The borrower is slave to the lender.”
Sorry, but I cannot find the compassion in the equation.
And I fear for our nation.

Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.