Opinion

‘Public option’ for health care already exists

I am sure the majority of us are growing just a bit weary of the continued bashing and minimizing of those who oppose the government takeover of health care. The arguments against the opponents accuse them of being rowdy and saying critical things to our representatives. Not much substance is offered on why we should go forward with the proposed changes. The declining numbers of those favoring absolute destruction of the best health care system in the world in order to “save it” seem to argue that “we have to do it.” Sorry, but that doesn’t cut the mustard in honest debate. As a participant in the best-run government health care system in the world, I have yet to be convinced we should expand that system and force it on all.

Perhaps if some of the proponents would spend a few minutes researching what impact government already has on health care in the private sector they might not be so anxious for the “public option.” A review of the “mandated” inclusions in health insurance plans should make even the most diehard “liberal” (sorry, they are “Progressives” now) take pause and reconsider.

In general, private health care plans are based on a “model” created from the plans offered to state employees and other public servants. Not surprisingly, since those employees receive generous allowances or benefits paid for by you and me, those plans are rather extensive in coverage. On top of that, although there is a specific procedure for adding “mandated” coverage to private plans, the Legislature routinely bypasses the requirement and simply enacts the requirement by legislative action. That certainly makes it easier for special interest groups to get their wishes filled and opens the door for a new way to influence a group of voters. Remember that in private policies with mandated coverage, all of the policy holders get to share the total cost. It is the ultimate example of “to some as they may need or desire, paid for by those who may have no need at all.” I have no objection to coverage for maternity-related care, but why should single men, gay men and women no longer able to get pregnant have to pay for it? Why should those of us who do not engage in the use of illegal substances pay for the care of those who do? Why should a responsible person pay for the care of a person injured because they abused alcohol? The list of mandated coverage goes on and apparently has no end in sight. We already have a “public option” that we don’t like that relies on the many to pay for the few. Why would we want more of the same?

What ever happened to the concept of paying for your own basic coverage and having insurance for significant or major illness. We all insure our homes and our cars in that manner. What makes insuring ourselves so different? I don’t have insurance to change the oil in my car or to change the wiper blades. Why do I need insurance to pay for routine visits to my family doctor? If I need some plumbing or electrical work done at home, I call for the service and pay the bill. Why should my relationship with the medical system for routine service be any different? Sure my car is covered for collision, but even there I get to choose what coverage I will carry beyond the minimum required to take the car on the road. Home insurance is the same way, because I get to choose (and pay for) the level of protection and assistance I want. How is health insurance any different? Insurance does not guarantee my car or home will not be damaged and health insurance does not guarantee I will have good health and live forever. Maybe it is time to realize we need to be more responsible for ourselves and less demanding on the resources of others.

Just how much more government do we want in our lives or can we stand? I, for one, would like a whole lot less and don’t need any more, thank you very much.

Jack Hamilton can be reached at gradiver@wavecable.com.

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