Bryan Fischer
ObamaCare or freedom: take your pick
By Bryan Fischer
July 30, 2009

According to Shawn Tully of Fortune Magazine, despite all the rhetoric you have heard from the President and Democrats as they try to hawk their oppressive takeover of the health care industry, there are five fundamental freedoms that you and I and our families will lose under ObamaCare.

The first freedom you will lose is the freedom to choose what's in your plan. The federal government will mandate the minimum list of benefits every plan must include, whether you want a plan with those benefits or not.

So-called "standard benefits packages" — which many states already require — are a major cause for the rise in health care costs. You will be forced to pay for certain services such as chiropractic care, psychiatric care, substance-abuse services, hair transplants and in vitro fertilization you neither want nor need. Plus a so-called committee of experts could add to the list of required benefits any time it chose.

The second freedom you will lose is the freedom to be rewarded for a healthy lifestyle. The government will use what are called "community ratings" to force all patients to pay the same rates for their coverage regardless of their age or medical condition.

This makes no rational or economic sense. Auto insurers don't have to charge the same rates for safe drivers as they do to chronic leadfoots with a history of accidents, and medical insurers should likewise be able to reward folks who make healthy lifestyle choices. Under ObamaCare, rewarding healthy Americans by giving them lower premiums will be against the law.

ObamaCare will force young Americans, who typically have lower incomes than older Americans, to pay far more than their actual cost for health care, in order to give older workers, who typically have higher incomes, a discount. A 20-year old who would cost just $800 a year insure will get stuck with a bill for $2,500 while a 62-year old who costs $7,500 would pay no more than $5,000 a year.

The third freedom you will forfeit is the freedom to choose high-deductible coverage. About five million Americans have high-deductible plans that protect them for major medical costs of more than $10,000 in a year, with the money they save through lower premiums invested in a Health Savings Account that they control. It's their money. If they don't need to spend it at the doctor's office, they get to keep it for future medical costs.

This makes HSA users far more cost-conscious than customers who are reimbursed for the majority of their care. High-deductible catastrophic plans with low premiums, coupled with Health Savings Accounts owned by American workers rather than insurance companies, is the quickest and surest way to improve American health and lower the overall cost of health care.

The fourth freedom you will lose is the freedom to keep your own plan. Even if your company self-insures, they will only be allowed to do so for five years, and you will be allowed to keep your current private health care plan only as long as it doesn't change. But if your co-pay changes, your deductible changes, or you switch coverage for any reason, boom, you'll be forced into a government-mandated plan.

And the fifth freedom you will lose is the freedom to choose your own doctor. You will be assigned a primary care doctor, whether you like him or not, and he will control your access to specialists. He will decide what diagnostic services — such as MRIs — seem best for you, and will decide whether you get to see a cardiologist or an orthopedist.

Perversely, your doctor will be rewarded for denying you care, since care will have to be rationed in a vain attempt to control costs.

As Tully says, "the Obama platform would mandate extremely full, expensive, and highly subsidized coverage, including a lot of benefits people would never pay for with their own money, but deliver it through a highly restrictive plan that will determine what care and tests you can and can't have."

The bottom line: ObamaCare is bad for America's health care system, bad for American medicine, bad for American patients, bad for American families, and bad for America's wallets. In other words, it should be dropped in the nearest Dumpster as soon as possible and left there forever.

© Bryan Fischer


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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