Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Heath Reform and The American Creed

In 2007 I wrote a book Voices of Health Reform: Interviews with Health Care Stakeholders at Work. The book included 42 interview with leading thought leaders.

I concluded the book with this passage:

“Our health system is a creature of our culture. When asked what Americans believe, Garry Orren, a professor of political science at Brandeis, just outside Boston, who polls for the New York Times and Washington Post, said, ’A good place to start to remember we are pro-democracy and anti-government. It comes down to ideas that are essentially anti-authority and tend toward self-regulation. It there were an American creed, it might begin.

The American Creed

"One, Government is best that governs least.

Two, majority rule.

Three, equality of opportunity.”

Obamacare and the Creed

Think about this creed, and consider what has happened since Obama was elected in 2008. He and his administration have turned two parts of this creed on its head.

One, we have an unprecedented expansion of government over multiple government sectors, including heath care, with the belief that government is best that governs most.

Two, the majority has ruled. Democrats have had majorities in the House and the Senate with a Democrat as President, and they have ruled.

Three, instead of equality of opportunity, the Obama administration has sought to achieve equality of results, namely, redistribution of wealth and equality of health plans for everyone. To do this, they seek an individual mandate, with homogenization of plans for old and young, rich and poor, in all sections of the country.

Back to the Creed – Center-Right Not Center-Left

With the economy stuck in the mud and the Middle-Class fearing for its future, the American people do not seem to like what they see. Polls indicate the majority are calling again for a government that governs least, for a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, and for equality of opportunity for Americans who want to keep existing plans and for choice outside of government mandates.

We are a Center-Right country that has just experienced two years of Center-Left rule, and, and for the most part, we do not seem to like what we see. At the same time, however, the ruling party has changed the health care landscape, as is its prerogative, and it will be messy to undo what has been done.

What disturbs me right now is health plans are reacting to Obamacare by either dropping coverage for the insured or raising premiums to such an extent that health care is becoming unaffordable for the currently insured.

The Center-Left argues this phenomenon is due to capitalistic greed. The young and old, sick and well, healthy and wealthy, in other words,everybody, ought to have equal plans, with redistribution of benefits for all, even if those with existing coverage have to suffer and to be shifted to more expensive government policies or to Medicaid.

The Center Right says: We are a capitalistic nation. You cannot repeal the law of economics. Health plans dropping coverage for most of us” is not callousness. It is fiduciary responsibility. Insurance companies are not charities. ..if patients are no longer able to afford expensive policies, that is how government compassion works (John Stossel, “Congress Can’t Repeal Economics, “ Real Clear Politics, October 6, 2006).

Nonsense, counters the Center Left’s spokespersons, if Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland can cover all with private plans, why can’t we? “The health care overhaul that passed Congress is far from ideal, .. But it does represent progress. The fact that it is beginning to disrupt the status quo — that some insurance policies will eventually be eliminated and some inefficient insurers will have to leave the market altogether — is all the proof we need.” (David Leonardt, Health Care ‘s Uneven Road to a New Era,” New York Times, October 5, 2010).

Let the voters decide between the Center Right and Center Left. Let the majority rule, and let there be equal opportunity for all.