The Road to a Single-payer System is Paved with Good Intentions

By: David Heacock

When government throws money at a problem, prices go up. And often, the problem gets worse. This is what we’re beginning to see with the implementation of The Affordable Care Act in the new calendar year. While most of the program’s policies are scheduled to take effect in 2014, its associated price increases are already manifesting themselves as insurance providers anticipate the bill’s full weight a year from now.

This should come as no surprise. We’ve seen the effects government interventions have had in the past on the price and quality of education and housing, as well as in the medical care industry. While President Obama promised a $2,500 decrease in health-insurance premiums for families by the end of his first term, costs have shown to have increased to about $3,000 higher than when Obama took office in 2009, and most states are looking at a 35%-100% increase in 2013. This new system will prove to be unsustainable and will likely serve as a bridge to a universal, single-payer plan.

“…government intervention in the private market failed to deliver the promised benefits and caused unintended consequences, but Congress never blames itself for the problems created by bad laws. Instead, we are told more government — in the form of “universal coverage” — is the answer. But government already is involved in roughly two-thirds of all health care spending, through Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs.” – Dr. Ron Paul

While defenders of the bill state that “health care is too important to be left to the free market,” it needs to be voiced that just the inverse is true. A council of advisers and consultants cannot adequately plan for the needs of a sick patient, whether it’s in regard to their medical treatment or how they’ll carry the costs.

There’s a famous motto in America that goes, “united we stand, divided we fall.” What we have failed to understand is that this unity need not be via government coercion. In fact, unity through government force is no “unity” at all. There was a time where charity and voluntarism played a much larger role in the health care system, but such presence has over time been replaced with inefficient bureaucracy through regulation.

“The lesson is clear: when government and other third parties get involved, health care costs spiral. The answer is not a system of outright socialized medicine, but rather a system that encourages everyone — doctors, hospitals, patients, and drug companies — to keep costs down. As long as ‘somebody else’ is paying the bill, the bill will be too high.” – Dr. Ron Paul

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