Myth Perpetuation

Just as our Task Force is getting started, NPR has a story on John McCain’s perspective on the issue. They outline his preferred approach – which seems generally right, and then they perpetuate one of the myths that might sink any meaningful reform.

“The problem is not that most Americans lack adequate health insurance — the vast majority of Americans have private insurance, and our government spends billions each year to provide even more,” McCain has said. “The biggest problem with the American health care system is that it costs too much.”

McCain wants to get people to buy their own insurance, rather than get it through their jobs. NPR’s Julie Rovner reports that McCain would accomplish this in a variety of ways: giving people tax credits, encouraging more people to set up tax-advantaged health savings accounts, and letting them buy insurance policies across state lines.

And no mandates for McCain. If you don’t want health insurance, you don’t have to get it.

What do you think of this plan? Would tax breaks encourage you to buy your own insurance? Is a mandate to have health care a good or bad idea? (emphasis added)

A mandate that everyone be insured is not a mandate that they have good health care (it would be impossible to mandate that everyone have good health care). Health Insurance ≠ Health Care. So long as we confuse the two the insurance industry will sway the debate in their own favor. Giving everyone insurance, no matter what method you use, will not guarantee that they have good health care.

As our Utah task force held their first meeting (which I could not attend) I was worried that they would not actively try to include consumers among their stakeholders, leaving the influence to industry professionals and lobbyists. I was very encouraged as I listened to the audio of the meeting when Senator Killpack listed consumers among the five major stakeholders for the task they are tackling.

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About David

David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.
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4 Responses to Myth Perpetuation

  1. Reach Upward says:

    While it is admirable that the legislators on the task force put out a call for everyone with any interest at all to get involved in the task force, the ‘consumer advocates’ that are represented either a) accept mandated universal insurance coverage, or b) have no chance of achieving anything less.

    The D-News reported (,5143,695271154,00.html ), “The desired outcomes of the effort are pretty set, but plotting strategies for getting there is the big challenge….”

    In other words, there is NO WAY that the task force will not recommend mandating that all Utahns be forced to buy health insurance. The only question is how to do it.

  2. David says:

    That is especially true if we give up right here at the beginning of the task force. Regardless of how slim the chances are they will get worse if we don’t start at the beginning and put all the pressure we can against a mandate throughout the process.

  3. Mackenzie says:

    Being from Maine,I like the idea of being able to buy health insurance companies across state lines. Most health insurance companies have left Maine.

    I do not think health insurance should be mandated, For one thing, because I am generally against mandates, and secondly because mandating health insurance violates philosophical freedom.

    Also, my biggest fear about universal health care is that it could become a dysfuntional beuracracy. Mandating health care could also go in that direction. It is already that way now. In the case of my father, who had lost his appetite, we had to wait six weeks to get an appointment with a gatroenterologist, which was partly due to having to first get an appointment with his primary physician first. “but he isn’t eating” I said, but a beurocracy is a beurocracy is a beurocracy, and that’s the way it is.

    He went to the emergency room before the six weeks was up. He is now doing great, after we got him out of the nursing home and into Maine Med, where he was correctly diagnosed, and now he is in a real rehab center making progress every day.

    I agree that health insurance is not health care

  4. David says:

    “my biggest fear about universal health care is that it could become a dysfuntional beuracracy.”

    You are very generous to say that it could become a dysfunctional bureaucracy – I would go so far as to say that I cannot imagine any scenario where it would not become exactly that.

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