Anne Lowe and Rick Akin: Health care a nightmare

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“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

— Benjamin Franklin

That principle is as true today as it was in Dr. Franklin’s time. Nevertheless, those in control in Washington persist in further controlling the lives of Americans, increasing the size and power of government while further controlling and encroaching on the freedom of Americans — all under the pretense of taking care of us, and providing us with security.

The most blatant example of government takeover in our history is the health care bill signed into law this week, despite opposition from a sizeable majority of the American people. In summary, this bill imposes substantial controls on doctors, patients, insurance carriers and medical facilities, while massively increasing taxes, government spending and, yes, the federal budget deficit. It’s negative impact on businesses across the country and even our hometown of Steamboat is starting to unfold. You already have seen the reports of businesses having to bear massive new expenses resulting from this bill.

The new law:

■ Forces all Americans (and employers with 50 employees or more) to purchase health insurance approved by federal bureaucrats or pay a fine.

■ Eliminates the option of catastrophic health coverage as is provided by popular HSA plans.

■ Drastically increases the Medicaid entitlement.

■ Imposes more than a dozen new taxes, including a 0.9 percentage point increase in employment taxes.

■ Drastically cuts Medicare expenditures.

■ Creates 159 new federal boards, bureaus and commissions.

■ Mandates pre-existing condition coverage (you now can buy insurance while in the ambulance).

■ The reconciliation bill passed by the House adds the following:

■ Nationalizes the college student loan program (Obviously central to any health care reform).

■ Extends the increased Medicare tax to all income, including investment income.

■ Provides for hiring 16,000 additional IRS agents (and you know they’ll be compelled to earn their keep).

Let’s face it, this was never about improving health care. If so, we would have been its biggest fans. Save all your health care sob stories because we know this was always about political power. We could solve so many of the problems in our health care system if we confronted each issue individually and incrementally. Those in power dismissed this approach because it never could achieve the major objective of government control. How many times have we heard “transformational”? Congress rammed through a deeply flawed and fiscally irresponsible overhaul of health care in order to achieve political control. It was a dark day for American liberty.

Brace yourself for the consequences: less freedom for doctors/patients; higher health care/insurance costs; increase in taxes; decline in health care service; increasing federal deficits; and downward pressure on our struggling economy.

This debacle has been largely justified by demonizing insurers and drug companies, whose total profits, by the way, would only finance the country’s health care system for about a week a year. It is beyond debate that the United States provides the vast majority of heath care innovation. Innovation, however, does not come from a government commission. It comes from private industry. Consequently, the current administration’s path of health care reform will stifle innovation at the same time that it fails to meet its other objectives. It is simply wrong-headed.

As Nobel laureate Milton Friedman observed, “The lesson of history is absolutely crystal clear that there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.” The health care industry is no exception, and no bureaucrat has the ability to improve service and pricing like that of a competitor.

As George Washington observed, “Government is not reason, nor eloquence. It is force. And like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearsome master.”

What’s next fellow Ameri­cans? Will we stand by and allow this arrogant administration to ram through further regulations? Believe me, they’re confident now that they can pass anything they want through any process they can come up with — constitutional or not. Will we go from the “land of the free, home of the brave” to “land of the suppressed, home of the dependent?”

Rick Akin is an Attorney practicing in Steamboat Springs, Denver and Austin, Texas; a former community representative on the Pilot & Today Editorial Board; and vice chairman of The Steamboat Institute. He holds a BA from the University of Oklahoma and a doctorate from the University of Texas.

Anne Lowe is a practicing pharmacist and a graduate of the University of Utah, with a doctorate from the University of Colorado. She is a director of The Steamboat Institute.

Comments

beentheredonethat 4 years, 7 months ago

finally, health care in the usa will be a right and not a privilege, in spite of considerable opposition. it was the republicans who years age promoted the plan that each citizen should buy health insurance, then selling the idea as a personal responsibility issue. now that the democrats took up their cause the right switched sides. when will this great country be able to field a viable third party, which places people like Mr. Akin, Ms. Lowe and those on the other extreme where they belong....on the fringe and out of power.

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seeuski 4 years, 7 months ago

Great piece Rick and Anne, thanks for putting in print what the majority of us are feeling. We will fight on towards the November elections and end this nightmare one vote at a time.

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OnTheBusGus 4 years, 7 months ago

Here are some of the benefits of the health care bill that Anne and Rick conveniently omitted:

Adult children may remain as dependents on their parents’ policy until their 27th birthday

Children under age 19 may not be excluded for pre-existing conditions

No more lifetime or annual caps on coverage

Adults with pre-existing conditions may buy into a national high-risk pool until the exchanges come online.

Small businesses (25 employees or less) will be entitled to a tax credit for 2009 and 2010, which could be as much as 50% of what they pay for employees’ health insurance.

The “donut hole” closes for Medicare patients, making prescription medications more affordable for seniors.

Requirement that all insurers must post their balance sheets on the Internet and fully disclose administrative costs, executive compensation packages, and benefit payments.This alone explains why the insurance companies have fought this tooth and nail.

Authorizes early funding of community health centers in all 50 states Community health centers provide primary, dental and vision services to people in the community, based on a sliding scale for payment according to ability to pay.

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Fred Duckels 4 years, 7 months ago

Gus, If we don't address our debt all your entitlements will be mute, none of us will have anything, The economy is job one or social justice will be no more, It takes money to do these niceties and we are approaching the end of the line. George. get a clue!

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Fred Duckels 4 years, 7 months ago

George, I knew that I might make a mistake someday but being caught by a liberal is more humiliation than I deserve.

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freerider 4 years, 7 months ago

Rick your an Attorney ...so all you do here is spew off like Ann Coulter or Sarah Palin with hate and fear mongering...the Republican mantra of crap

WTF do you expect anybody do about this or any of the other hundreds of atrosities that our Government is doing to us...???

I'm an Independant , I don't support either party as they both only serve corporate America and " We the people " means nothing to them

We see these kind of stories or opinions every day in the media and they are only self serving and offer absolutly no answers or vision about what to about our government that is only serving corporate America or I prefer to call it a Fascist government .

This is not Socialism this is Fascism . The corporations are calling all the shots They own everything and it's freking easy to stand on the corner and yell foul , but I'd like to hear some solutions to the problems rather than hear the same old broken record about what's wrong with this country...we all know it's broken...the question is how are we going to fix it...???

Putting Republicans back in charge only makes a new set of problems as they are the party of fear mongering and war mongering and greed and hate mongering

The only true patriot in congress that's not bought and paid for is Ron Paul This is my two cents on the subject

Ron Paul says:

Audit the fed and dismantle it as they have ruined the value of the dollar Get rid of the IRS as it's un-constitutional Get out of Iraq and Afganistan End the drug war And he doesn't support the health care bill

Ron Paul 2012

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bandmama 4 years, 7 months ago

"the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" ahhh I think there is a little more.

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NamVet 4 years, 7 months ago

Putting the Republicans back in power as the Tea Party wants is just stupid. They were in power for 6 years and look what we have to show for it. The elimination of the Deficit Reduction Act in 2002 by Bush led to 6 trillion in wasted spending increasing the size of the Federal Government almost by 67%. Who in their right mind wants these idiots back. What needs to be done is to vote EVERY incumbent out of office and replace them with a non-lawyer Independent. Republicans are no better than the Democrats, the only difference is who they spend our money on. To balance the budget there must be considerable cuts in Defense spending by bringing home ALL our troops from foreign land, and cut Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security(the Trust Fund does not exist) over time. These three comprise almost 80% of all government expenditures so without cutting them eliminating the deficit is a fantasy. Unfortunately many of the Tea Party people are on Medicare and Social Security so they they would be totally against cutting their entitlements.

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ybul 4 years, 7 months ago

I think that from the thoughts of Ron Paul that trying to change the Republican Party from within was a better idea than starting up an independent party (or going libertarian as that would be suicide) at this point in time. Look at how moderate dems have kept health care from legislated the way the far left wants in the Senate.

Maybe if there were a critical mass of people who thought along their lines would make the idea feasible. I know of many tea party members who are running against incumbents in primaries and pushing back against the status quo from within and it appears to be working in areas.

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blue_spruce 4 years, 7 months ago

A major reason for the current bill was to include all Americans' in the system before it tanks. I am frankly surprised that more major news media didn't pick up on this. There is no way we can support the current system - with all its waste - into the future. You don't have to be an economist or math genius to see this! Just look at the numbers! Not even close. Its just impossible – with or without the bill! So, ethically, it made a lot of sense to include everyone - so when the **** hits the fan, we don't leave 20M + people in the cold. Come on people – can't we agree that ethically this is the right thing to do?!? We are going to have to start to learn to live "within our means" in terms of healthcare – again, with or without the new bill. Do we really need to spend so much money on a terminal cancer patient so we can extend life by 3 months? Do we need to be so aggressive with mammogram screening when the data shows that there are no better results with this practice, for instance? We are going to have to start rewarding doctors by performance – results – and not just how many procedures they order...and we have to stop spending SO much money on the end of life stuff. NOT an easy pill to swallow. But again, it made a lot of sense to get everybody “in” so when we are FORCED to really re-make the health care system, all Americans will be part of the solution, not just the well to do. If the health insurance companies can reign in the “system” then great. Otherwise we may indeed be looking at single-payer as the only mechanism that can change the fundamentals of how we deliver health care in this country.

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Matthew Stoddard 4 years, 7 months ago

Didn't we already give up a bit of liberty when the Patriot Act went into effect, in order to provide better security after 9/11? If we can suck that up, why can't we suck up to trying to make sure our country as a whole has more accessible health care? Doesn't a more healthy nation mean a more healthy military? Ohhhhh, that's right. You have to JOIN the military to get those benefits. Great! Let's all join the military! Been there. Done that. Got the Discharge.

I'm surprised this letter was prefaced with that particular quote from Benjamin Franklin to espouse a Conservative view on health care. What liberties are we giving up to have more accessible health care? Also, next time do a little research. The above quote is a paraphrase from of the motto on the cover of "An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania" from 1759, published by Franklin...but authored by Richard Jackson.

The quote from that was, "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

The earlier version attributed to Franklin read, "Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power." It was in Poor Richard's Almanack in 1738.

Too bad the Bush Administration didn't follow Franklin's quote of, "There never was a good war or a bad peace." (in a letter to Josiah Quincy 1783)

You'd think that if you are going to quote the man and attribute his name to it, you might want to get the quote actually...right.

As for the "argument" of the letter, here's one more quote, often misattributed to Franklin: "Your argument is sound, nothing but sound."

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