President Obama and Congressional leaders are putting on the full-court press to get a health care reform bill passed by August. Without question, America’s health care system has issues and needs to be improved. But I have grave concerns about the current proposals being discussed to “fix” our health care system.
I’m especially concerned about the so-called “public option”, which would allow people to choose a government program over a private program. I want to be careful not to be overly-critical of those who support the public option, because I truly believe their intentions are good. But given our federal government’s history of running health care programs (e.g. Medicare, Medicaid, VA), I don’t have a lot of confidence in our federal government’s ability to manage a health care plan.
I live in Tennessee, and a few years back our state implemented a plan called TennCare. It was a public/private partnership plan that guaranteed coverage to the poor and uninsurable. The goals were admirable, and there were all sorts of cost-containment promises and projections showing how it would actually save the state money.
Unfortunately, the exact opposite turned out to be true. TennCare almost bankrupted the State of Tennessee, and eventually the program had to be gutted because the state simply couldn’t afford it.
Given the massive federal budget deficits we are running, and in view of our uncontrollable national debt, I’m afraid we can’t afford the kind of plan that is being discussed in Congress and by the President. We’re just not in a position to borrow more money to finance more government programs, no matter how lofty the goals may be.
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