Viewpoint: Government intruding into our livesSome believe a comprehensive health plan is what is needed for our country. I disagree.
By: Linda Lehrke, South Washington County Bulletin
Some believe a comprehensive health plan is what is needed for our country. I disagree, and believe this is another entitlement that will cause our country to go even further into debt. Most people will agree, our health care system needs to be evaluated and changes need to be made. We can believe in the free market: letting people have a choice, not being controlled by politicians, not limited in the choices of coverage, nor price controls, or we can have a single-payer health care plan which many in government want. The health care reform legislation making its way through Congress right now is prone to the second. If they pass through the public option, or a version of it, I believe in time we will have no choice other than the government health care.
Let’s see — from what I can figure out (because it’s hard for any of us to know what they are doing — day in and day out) it appears we will be taxed for 10 years (for a start) – but then there will be NO benefits for six years (that’s when it starts with benefits?) By the seventh year it is going to cost $900 billion to the taxpayers. To keep it under a trillion, parts of the bill will be taken out and made into other bills, so we won’t think it is so expensive. It will still be paid for by taxpayers; just hidden somewhere else. More people will be added to Medicaid and actual coverage for condition will probably be taken away for some people. Small businesses will be charged an additional 15 percent and health care providers will be taxed 40 percent to help pay for this? Premiums will have to be raised on the taxpaying people who DO have health insurance. No medical condition can be denied to a person who just signs up to get insurance, but there will be a fine if you don’t have insurance. The fine, I hear, would cost $750 for individuals or $1,500 for families. Now how scary is this, “The fines would be the stick to enforce a proposed requirement” that all Americans get health insurance, much as auto coverage is now mandatory? Here’s a great idea for people — cancel your health insurance and wait until you need it — it would be cheaper than continuing to pay for your insurance. After all, you will be paying taxes for the public option anyway, so you might as well take advantage of it. I also wonder what the businesses that offer health insurance to employees will do. Their best bet is to quit covering it and have them go to the government public option.
An insurance exchange will be set up for 20 to 30 percent of the people so they can shop for health care? Then why not go with what some have said, let everyone shop for their health insurance, over state lines, not just those that government determines can? Keep the health care savings accounts. Allow insurance companies to decide what type of coverage they will give and allow the people to choose, according to what they need. Let some insurance companies charge more and cover “high risk” people, the same as car insurance is currently set up and let the people make their choices.
And all of the above will probably have to be incorporated into the newest version announced on Oct. 29, by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi when she unveiled “The Affordable Health Care for America Act.” Affordable? It is available to read online, all 1,990 pages. According to Rep. John Boehner there will be a $500 million cut of Medicare coverage, and $162 billion dollar cut to Medicare Advantage. Eighty percent of those covered will lose coverage under this proposal. Employers will have to pay an additional 8 percent tax to the government, which will raise the cost of employment. The bill says, right at the top, “To provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans and reduce the growth in health care spending, and for other purposes.” Interesting — “and for other purposes!” If this legislation passes, it would require nearly all Americans to sign up for coverage by 2013.
The cost of health care continues to sky-rocket, much in part because some people do not have nor choose to pay for health insurance. Maybe if everyone had to pay for their own insurance, not having the employers paying for it or having government take more money from us in taxes to cover it, perhaps the connection between coverage and cost would become more real for people. When we pay for our own groceries, we are more selective of what we purchase. We also have ‘choices’ on what food we buy and, usually, prices run about the same in the stores, so whether it is government or individuals — the contributions (amount of money) should be the same. Determining the health care need should be put directly into the hands of the consumer — let them be in the driver’s seat and make the decisions that will benefit them. Contrary to the government believing they know best for people, I believe people are smart enough to make decisions for themselves as they have a better understanding of their own needs.
Government health care is only one part of the whole problem that we face today. How do we “connect the dots” as to the government takeover of our lives? Thomas Jefferson said, “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” In that context, let me ask, who fears who right now and are we gaining or losing liberty? I am interested and involved because I think we need to educate ourselves as to who is reaching in our pockets and what effect it will have on our children, grandchildren and all others who are to come after us. I believe each of us should be responsible for ourselves, not take something which is not ours, not expect others to take care of us if we are able to do it ourselves and I believe each of us should be able to profit from our own work. I know there are some who need to be helped and I am not against reaching out to others in need.
Believing the government can take care of everything for us is ridiculous, yet they are well on the way to taking over much of our lives — the banking industry, the sub-prime mortgages, Wall Street, automobile companies, Cash for Clunkers, General Electric, education, health care, mandating the types of bulbs we can use in our homes, cap and trade, pushing global warming as a “man-made” disaster (even with snow in October) and now deciding how much CEOs can be paid.
I’ll just look at two of the items above — light bulbs and Cash for Clunkers. We are told to buy the new light bulbs, which contain mercury and are high in cost, while, at the same time, told not to use the older mercury thermometers because they are dangerous and have mercury in them. The “Cash for Clunkers” was to help our economy; instead, cost each American thousands of dollars and gave a boost to foreign auto manufacturers — not ours. The top 10 clunkers traded in were American made automobiles while the top ten purchased with the money were foreign made automobiles. Now, the companies stuck with trying to get rid of the clunkers are looking at a fine of around $1,500 dollars if they don’t dispose of them in the allotted time. Does this make sense? President Barack Obama on Oct. 29 said our GDP was at 3.5 percent, the largest three-month gain in two years. Much of the gain was from the auto industry, which they figure will be down, now that the clunker deal is over. At the same time, sales of homes were down for October and the money spent that raised the GDP was mostly from government spending, not the private sector.
Government control of our lives is not going to solve things. Connect the dots — how many of the people, who put us into the mess, are now in the administrative positions to supposedly get us out? Absolute power corrupts absolutely! James Madison said it well, “The rights of persons, and the right of property, are the objects, for the protection of which Government was instituted,” yet we see more and more of our rights disappearing and government is the one who is taking them away! Specifically on health care — we, in Minnesota, have health care for those who need it. I believe it is the responsibility of the states and not the federal government to do this.
Now in response to those who criticize FOX News. One does not have to be careful where you are getting your information, if indeed, you are looking for the truth, which I believe should be your quest! I think we should be open to hearing what is being said by many different people, investigating it, evaluating it and then determining if it is the truth. When our president has described FOX as a “television station that is entirely devoted to attacking my administration,” which is divisive, it is no wonder that the following has happened.
On Sunday Oct. 18, on ABC, David Axelrod came out and said that FOX is not a true news organization. He also said, and I quote from his words, “and the bigger thing is that, ah, ah, other news organizations like yours, ah, ought not to treat them that way.” Then on Thursday, Oct. 22, the White House tried to implement the ousting of FOX news in the daily news interviews. They tried to keep FOX from interviewing Kenneth Feinberg (pay czar). The White House administration contacted the White House pool, the five network rotation which FOX news has been a member of since 1997, and told them all news media were welcome, except FOX news. The heads of the five newsgroups got together and decided if FOX was not allowed, then none of them would participate. The White House backed down! Finally, someone else stood up because what can happen to one can happen to others! The White House would do better at educating themselves between opinion programs and news programs. They have spent way too much time attacking FOX, the Chamber of Commerce, healthcare providers, Chrysler bondholders and anyone who blows a whistle or disagrees with them. It would be good if real threats to our nation were addressed, our military commanders were taken seriously and disreputable organizations such as ACORN, receiving taxpayer dollars, would be investigated. “By keeping ACORN charities on the list, the federal government is giving its seal of approval to a group that advised people to lie to the IRS. And this position is inconsistent with congressional intent, as well as the IRS and census bureau’s stand that they no longer want to do business with ACORN,” Sen. Chuck Grassley said in a statement Tuesday, October 27. They were exposed and temporarily cut from federal monies by Congress. Why after Oct. 30 will ACORN, again, start receiving money from us? Is it because the flame has now dwindled and people won’t notice it?
Silencing the people is not what should be happening. I will close with two quotes from our founders. John Adams said, “Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people” and Thomas Jefferson, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” Connect the dots.
Linda Lehrke is a Cottage Grove resident.