Health Care Choices Should Be Made by the Patient, Not the Federal Government

One-size fits all health care system is ineffective, unfair to Wisconsin patients.

By Evan Karabas (ekarabas@wisc.edu) and Charlie Mueth (cmueth@wisc.edu)

Anything that the government has power to provide you, it also has the power to take away. Only 18% of Americans trust the government, according to a Pew Research Center study. Do we really want to put our health in the hands of a government that has proven that they are incapable of providing quality and affordable healthcare to its citizens?

Placing healthcare decisions in the hands of the government instead of in the hands of the patients who will be impacted by the decisions. Under the “Affordable” Care Act, patients were falsely promised that they would be able to keep their healthcare plans and their doctors. They were also promised that plans would remain affordable. However, the monopoly that the federal government has created when it comes to healthcare has created a situation in which premiums have doubled and tripled in the state of Wisconsin.

Obamacare has stripped the industry of the mediocre competition it already had, and began to replace it with a government monopoly. From 2015 to 2018, the Heritage Foundation reported that significantly more health insurers are going out of business than entering the market.

Free market ideals are an integral part to the fabric of America, where competition has always been encouraged and monopolies broken up so consumers could have access to more options. By taking away choices from the consumer, prices in the healthcare market will continue to rise because there is no incentive to keep costs low. With a government that will always meet the price of a service no matter how high it goes and no competition between different providers, we will never see a reduction of costs in the healthcare market.

Victims of state-run healthcare systems all over the world are at the mercy of the state. They are a burden to the system, siphoning up the finite resources that were allocated. Those who require more care are a greater burden, and thus the state has even less of an incentive to care for them. The scary reality is that if one patient drained enough of the state’s resources, letting the patient die would benefit the state. We should not encourage this dangerous dynamic.

Instead, patients in a market based healthcare system are customers, and are therefore an asset to the healthcare provider. The resources, being primarily provided by the recipient of the care, are less finite, and the healthcare providers rely on the patients as much as the patients rely on the providers. Conversely, the state-run system has turned its back on its own patients—many of whom have fled to America to seek better care. Healthcare is a time sensitive service, wait lists and rationing aren’t acceptable practices when someone’s life is hanging in the balance.

It can be tempting to relinquish power to politicians who claim to have all the answers to the imperfections of the healthcare system. It’s easy to give the government more power, but it’s much more difficult to take that power back once it has been sacrificed. That said, once the state snatches control of the nation’s healthcare system, they will not let go, even when it inevitably ends in catastrophic failure.

A one-size-fits-all system will not solve our national healthcare problems. Health is too complex. Republicans are embracing the challenge of creating a sustainable healthcare system that will last for centuries. America’s health solution will come from individual states—not out-of-touch politicians in Washington.

We can provide quality healthcare to our nation's citizens while taking power out of the hands of the government and put it back in the hands of the patients. We will still be able to protect patients with pre-existing conditions without protecting the failures of Obamacare and other government mandated health care policies.

We simply cannot afford to move toward more government control when it comes to our healthcare choices. A plan for socialized medicine backed by politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Tammy Baldwin would cost taxpayers $32.6 trillion in the first ten years alone. A study found that funding the plan could not be covered even if federal income taxes doubled.

The Trump Administration has already improved our healthcare system by reforming the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center. Republicans repealed the Obamacare mandate that forced consumers to purchase healthcare plans that they didn’t necessarily need and couldn’t afford. We should support President Trump and Republicans across our nation in creating a sustainable, new system which puts the patient first, not the government.

A version of this article was also published in The Badger Herald.

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