Publisher's Note: Summer means health care
By Jody Reese
A federal overhaul of our health care system doesn’t seem likely in the near future. There’s too much fear that the new system will be even worse than the current one.
Quite understandable. The law of unintended consequences is a frequent feature of government programs.
But doing nothing would be a serious mistake. We as a country already pay more for health care than any other developed country and our system unduly burdens business and middle-class white-collar workers. In this country business pays most of the health care premiums, making American-made products more expensive and less competitive with foreign imports. It’s harder to start a small business because the owner has to figure out how to affordably buy health insurance on the open market. Good luck if you’re over 50.
Then there’s the uninsured costs passed on to the business and its employees through premiums. One of the fictions is that sick people don’t get treated. Of course they do. Someone still has to pay for that treatment and we do in our health insurance premiums and through our taxes. It’s that hidden tax on all of us that is rarely quantified. On top of that, it’s unfair. Why should someone who chooses not to buy insurance cost me, the insured, more money because they choose not to pay in? Our current system rewards irresponsible behavior.
Given how much more we pay and how much less healthy we are as a country, we can’t claim that we have the best health care system in the world. Claims about choice are similarly spurious. What choice do you have when you’re in an HMO and your primary care doctor directs your care? What choice do you have when the insurance company refuses to pay for a particular medical treatment? Do people in Europe have any less choice?
And still any change will be slow in coming. It’s not even that too many people are making too much money with the current system; it’s that any system fears change (it can change who’s in control) and, of course, it’s the devil you know.
Former AG Kelly Ayotte is getting major financial support from big guns outside New Hampshire. U.S. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell from Kentucky is helping organize a big-time fundraiser for her down in Washington. Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta is looking for similar help from the national Republican Party in his bid. It’s interesting that both candidates are getting support so early — before even the primaries. It’s as if someone outside the state is picking our candidates. Democrats shouldn’t feel better about themselves. They do exactly the same thing. U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes, who staked out a run for Judd Gregg’s seat early on, has Sen. Harry Reid (Nev.), the majority leader, helping him raise money in D.C.
It’s too bad that we New Hampshire residents can’t be the ones to support our favorite candidates. I suspect that would open the race up to more choice (fewer people who all have the same background). But that’ll never happen. With parties it’s all about winning. Choosing good people isn’t on the agenda.