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Too much, too fast, too soon

By James Palmer
Published: March 2010

The recent debate over health care bill has been one of the most controversial and important political battles within my lifetime and for most of it, I have been extremely confused.

It seems as though every day there is a new component, different battle, or new vote in congress over new provisions. And every day on the front page of the paper there is a new story trying to explain the madness.

In the past few weeks, as more stories were published, the debates seem to be getting uglier, the politicians fiercer, and my position clearer. I do not support Health Care Reform.

Recently I have seen and heard about the constant push by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Barrack Obama to get it passed. To me at least, it seems as though they have been constantly pressuring everyone to get it done quickly and efficiently, while many Americans don’t know the first thing about what is going on.

When I first found out about these tactics, I couldn’t help feeling as though they were slightly underhanded.

If they really want to be successful and truly believe that this is what Americans want, I don’t understand why they are trying to get the bill passed while many people remain in the dark and while many people are adamantly against it. If everyone did see what was going on, would they like what they saw?In fact, already many Americans do not agree with what they see.

A very substantial portion of the American people does not support what has been deemed “Obamacare. Although they do not agree on what to change or how to reform healthcare, they do believe that this bill is not the way to do it.

Recently, in the Wall Street Journal, Grace-Marie Turner explored how effective the Massachusetts healthcare system has been since passed in 2006.

According to Turner, the state-wide health care plan has failed. Although the rate of uninsured has fallen to just 3%, there have been many downfalls: namely cost and efficiency. In this state, more than half of the newly insured, an estimated 408,000 pay nothing for their insurance. This means that the rest of the state is paying for their medical costs.

I do not believe that anyone who is truly sick should be refused emergency medical care because they cannot afford to pay, but I do not think that this system, very similar to the national Health Care Reform being considered, is the best way to help these people because of what else it will cost for the nation.

In Massachusetts, the new health care system has been a significant financial burden on a large portion of the population. Rates for insurance are significantly higher than the rest of the nation, 27% higher on average.

Although one might expect rates to fall because more people are becoming insured, “The state’s stubbornly high health costs are partly the result of intrusive government regulations that stifle the market and strict mandates on what services insurance must cover, Turner said.

If the entire nation is put under a similar system, the results will likely be the same; in addition to paying for the $940 billion of healthcare, regulations may also cause increases in insurance rates.

I also have to wonder, after hearing all of the horror stories about people dying in Canada and Britain due to the lack of immediate care and long-term attention, will the new system do more harm than good?

Based on the nation’s experience with Medicare, most likely the new system may cause significant problems in the medical sector.

I believe that people who cannot truly afford insurance due to difficult financial circumstances should receive emergency and life-saving care, compensated by the federal government. However, I do not believe that all Americans should simply be given healthcare. The money does not come from the government; it comes from the people.

At this point, with the debt of the national government reaching $13 trillion, I don’t believe that an additional $940 billion over the next ten years will be well-spent when the state-wide healthcare in Massachusetts, a very similar system, has not been beneficial.

I see the healthcare debate as an issue of extreme importance. As it is, it seems as though many politicians in Washington are trying to push through this bill without considering what many Americans really want: a system that will work.

I do not see it as a choice between doing nothing and trying to reform a corrupt system.

I see it as a choice between passing this bill, here and now, and taking the extra time and effort to improve the nation’s health without unnecessary intervention, undeserved handouts, and high rates for those already insured.

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