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Health care poised on socialist abyss

  

Originally published in The Evansville Courier - Viewpoint section

The Clinton health-care plan will he successful in two ways: It will destroy the world's greatest health-care system and bankrupt the country.

During the State of the Union address, President Clinton, with characteristic simpatico, very generously offered universal cover-age, expanded benefits and a lethal dose of big government, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the United States is more than $4 trillion in debt, with an-other $250 billion added annually.

It would seem that Clinton has experienced an abrupt departure from reality.

The president and his wife, both lawyers, presume to tell the rest of us how to run health care, never blinking an eye at the fact that, as lawyers, they represent the most bloated, inefficient legal system in the world.

The irony and absurdity of it all are staggering.

The inescapable reality, though, is straightforward. We have accumulated a monumental debt, and already 62 cents out of every income-tax dollar goes to pay interest on the debt.

Our children's future has been mortgaged off, but now the social engineering elites who brought you Aid For Dependent Children, and with it the highest illegitimacy rate in the world, want to tackle health care.

I see no reason to even contemplate giving them that opportunity.

The following are specifics of the Clinton plan that concern me most.

The president's plan abolishes 99 percent of the current health-care plans and offers a "one size fits all" package that lumps consumers into government-controlled monopolies called "alliances."

This will limit your choice of health coverage to government-designed plans.

The Clinton plan calls for glob-al caps for health-care spending which will inevitably lead to rationing, although no one in the administration has the honesty to mention this.

The government would decide who gets a scan or a particular operation " such as a coronary bypass procedure " based on a finite global health-care budget, just as they have in Canada,

You and your loved ones will have to get used to waiting lists.

The Clinton plan imposes a mandate forcing at least 55 per-cent of medical students to enter a primary-care specialty, whether they want to or not.

The president doesn't seem to appreciate that medicine has made such extraordinary strides these past 25 years precisely be-cause of specialization.

Once his plan gets rolling, I wouldn't count on having a specialist around when you need one or on America leading the world in medical advances.

The Clinton plan would create 79 new government agencies and commissions to administer his health-care plan and would impose a 1.9 percent payroll tax on all workers to help pay for its provisions.

The Clinton plan will cost between 1 million and 3 million U.S. jobs because of the employer man-date which will force all employers to provide health insurance.

This includes small businesses, many of which will not be able to afford it, forcing them instead to cut jobs. This will cause millions to become unemployed as well as uninsured.

Unfortunately, there is more. In 1965, when Medicare was started, it was predicted that in 1990 the cost would run about $12 billion.

In fact, the cost for Medicare in 1990 was $112 billion.

Clinton believes he can finance his monster plan with a couple of "sin" taxes, cuts on Medicaid and Medicare, and by the increased "efficiency" of government-run health care.

If anyone needs a reminder of how efficient government-run health care is, just take a look at our Veterans Affairs system.

In typical Washington fashion, the Clinton plan grossly overpromises and underfunds.

The professional do-gooders, well practiced in the art of moral intimidation, have recited, ad nauseam, their mantra regarding the 37 million uninsured Americans, using this number to ram socialized medicine down our throats.

Many of there uninsured are, in fact, healthy young people, who believe themselves invincible and choose not to purchase health insurance or are between jobs.

Only about 12 million of these Americans are actually chronically uninsured. At the same time, the vast majority of Americans are satisfied with their current health-care coverage.

Does it make sense to completely dismantle and experiment with a health-care system that works so well for so many Americans?

As an analogy, there are roughly 15 million Americans who go to bed hungry every night. Should the government completely over-haul the food-delivery system in this country, socialize all grocery stores, supermarkets and farms, place them under the control of state boards, and form "alliances" mandating which foods consumers can buy and from which stores?

Wouldn't it be easier just to feed the hungry?

The primary problem with health care in this country is the lack of "affordable" and "portable" health insurance.

Workers are locked into jobs they don't like because they fear losing their health insurance, and other Americans can't afford insurance because of the cost, especially if they have "pre-existing" conditions.

There are better health-care plane out there.

The Consumer Choice Health Security Act, for one, sponsored by Sen. Don Nickles of Oklahoma, is a plan which addresses these problems by allowing the individual to take charge of his own health insurance, the good old American way.

It is modeled after the health-care program enjoyed by nearly 10 million federal employees, including the Congress, the president and his wife " the Federal Employment Health Benefit Program.

Here's how it works: Employers "cash out" their health insurance, paying additional wages to each employee rather than paying for their insurance premiums.

The additional wages allow working Americans to purchase their own health insurance from a. broad selection of private plane, which they can then take with them even if they leave their jobs.

Insurance regulation, will ensure that subscribers are guaranteed reissuance of the policy regardless of future health problems.

Individuals could buy low-cost insurances with high deductibles and pocket the extra savings, or else place it in a tax free medical individual retirement account, which can be used to handle deductibles or future health needs.

The poor and unemployed can continue receiving Medicaid or means-tested tax credits to help purchase private insurance.

Everyone could then acquire health coverage which is "portable."

The simplicity and elegance of this plan may not satisfy the liberal penchant for employer man-dates, price controls, reams of federal regulations or vast new bureaucracies, but it will satisfy the health needs of the country.

It will give people the right to choose whatever private plan they want and take it with them wherever they go.

In fact, unions for federal employees like their program so well they have requested exemption from the Clinton plan should it become law.

The Clinton health-care plan is a monster government takeover of the health-care system. It is a Maoesque great leap forward into the socialist abyss only recently abandoned by the rest of the world.

The unrelenting urge in some quarters of our nation for expanding government's involvement in the private lives and decisions of every American is an unwanted intrusion that should be resisted.

Changes are needed in our health-care system, but not a complete overhaul.

And I certainly wouldn't trust the two lawyers in the White House to do it.

Dr. Richard Moss is a physician with EMT Associates of Southern Indiana In Jasper, Ind.

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