Healthcare Plan Based on Economic Fantasy

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As
the healthcare debate rages on, there is one reality that even the
proponents of this hostile takeover of healthcare by government
cannot ignore — and that is money. The government simply does
not have the money for a new, expansive, public healthcare plan.
The country is in a deep recession that will deepen even further
with the coming collapse of the commercial real estate market. The
last thing we need is for government to increase and expand taxes
to pay for another damaging, wasteful program. Foreigners are becoming
less enthusiastic about buying our debt, and creating another open-ended
welfare program when we cannot pay for what is already in place,
will not help. Champions of socialized medicine want to tax the
rich, tax businesses that already cannot afford to provide health
plans to employees, and tax people who don’t want to participate
in the government’s scheme by buying an approved healthcare
plan. Presumably, all these taxes are to induce compliance. This
is not freedom, nor will it improve healthcare.

There are limits
to how much government can tax before it kills the host. Even worse,
when government attempts to subsidize prices, it has the net effect
of inflating them instead. The economic reality is that you cannot
distort natural market pressures without unintended consequences.
Market forces would drive prices down. Government meddling negates
these pressures, adds regulatory compliance costs and layers of
bureaucracy, and in the end, drives prices up.

The non-partisan
CBO estimates that the healthcare plan will cost almost a trillion
dollars over the next ten years. But government crystal balls always
massively underestimate costs. It is not hard to imagine the final
cost being two or three times the estimates, even though the estimates
are bad enough.

It is still
surreal that in a free country we are talking only about HOW government
should fix healthcare, rather than WHY government should fix healthcare.
This should be between doctors and patients. But this has been the
discussion since the 60′s and the inception of Medicare and
Medicaid, when government first began intervening to keep costs
down and make sure everyone had access. The result of Medicaid/Medicare
price controls and regulatory burden has been to drive more doctors
out of the system — making it more difficult for the poor and
the elderly to receive quality care! Seemingly, there are no failed
government programs, only underfunded ones. If we refuse to acknowledge
common sense economics, the prescription will always be the same:
more government.

Make no mistake,
government control and micromanagement of healthcare will hurt,
not help healthcare in this country. However, if for a moment, we
allowed the assumption that it really would accomplish all they
claim, paying for it would still plunge the country into poverty.
This solves nothing. The government, like any household struggling
with bills to pay, should prioritize its budget. If the administration
is serious about supporting healthcare without contributing to our
skyrocketing deficits, they should fulfill promises to reduce our
overseas commitments and use some of those savings to take care
of Americans at home instead of killing foreigners abroad.

The leadership
in Washington persists in a fantasy world of unlimited money to
spend on unlimited programs and wars to garner unlimited control.
But there is a fast-approaching limit to our ability to borrow,
steal, and print. Acknowledging this reality is not mean-spirited
or cruel. On the contrary, it could be the only thing that saves
us from complete and total economic meltdown.

See
the Ron Paul File

August
15, 2009

Dr. Ron
Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

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