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Letter: A free lunch?

To the editor:

There is no such thing as a free lunch. Or a free session with your friendly health care provider. Everyone knows that, or should know that. Yet an increasing number of our leftist politicians — quite a few in Minnesota included — persist in telling us that, if we would only expand governmental control of our health care system, we could enjoy our free medical lunch.

It is generally called a single-payer system to imply that it is more efficient and therefore less costly. The idea being that everyone would pay up so that free or reduced cost medical care would be available to those that need it. Sounds like a great deal does it not? In reality, it is a third-party payer system because the government is paying for medical services for which they were not a party.

The two parties in the medical services are importantly, first the patient and secondly the doctor, hospital or other providers. Inserting a third party complicates the transaction, becoming less efficient and more costly, it does not simplify it. And the patient has less control of the service which they receive. Now let's take a time out and look at what one reliable source has to say about the free lunch aspect of the deal.

The Lewin Group, a Minnesota-based health care think tank, has done an extensive study of the third-party payer (aka single payer) issue. And their conclusion? In Minnesota alone, a third-party payer system would probably require $17 billion in new dedicated taxes on top of existing health benefit programs. Yes, that's right: $17 BILLION! And did you know that several states have toyed with the third-party idea only to back off when they looked at the price tag.

And for what?

Department of Veteran's Affair's quality of health care. Loss of control over one's own health care? Loss or restriction of choice of provider? A utilitarian medical regime controlled by bureaucrats armed with cost-benefit and quality of life algorithms?

Remember, "He who pays the piper picks the tunes."

One hears a lot of grousing about the restrictions and rules currently imposed by private insurers. And the rising costs of health care. But what about governmental rules and restrictions. And what about the inevitable tradeoff between low cost and quality medical care. You can always pay less but you probably will come home with an inferior product.

Yes, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Paul Hyland