Leave my sovereignty alone!

Because I live in the Eastern wilds of Iowa, as one might discern from earlier posts, I recently watched the C-Span video of Senator Chuck Grassley’s speech before the Saturday vote on whether to advance the health care bill (HR 3590) for debate.  Senator Grassley countered the Democratic stance that “nothing is worse than doing nothing” with compelling economic evidence that “this bill is worse than doing nothing”.  I thank Senator Grassley for endeavoring to be a voice of reason amidst chaos.  I have held the opinion that Senator Grassley has been part of the big-government problem.   But lately, I think he is learning to listen to his constituents and actually “gets it”.  He is taking much heat from the left for his opposition to the liberal agenda.   Which means that he is standing up for me.

Though Grassley’s speech fell on deaf ears in the Senate, I think it is important to give voice to the truth anyway. Often the Old Testament prophets were ignored, even when their predictions were dire. Once the truth had been spoken, those on whom the coming calamity fell were without the excuse of ignorance.  Occasionally, the people listened and disaster was averted.   I pray that happens in this case.

As bad as the Democratic health care plan is on the economic front, I find it filled with intolerable encroachments on our individual sovereignty.  I am unwilling to sell my freedom for the promise of  “affordable” health care.  Consider this: if the plan really had merit, people would flock to it voluntarily. There would be no need to enforce participation via the Internal Revenue Service, or to embed criminal penalties for non-participation.

I don’t want anyone to get the idea that I have my head buried in the sand on the need for insurance reform.   I have a health savings account out of which I pay all medical expenses until my family has met a $5000 deductible.  This means that unless something catastrophic happens, all (absolutely all) medical expenses come out of my own pocket.  With these plans, the insured has a strong incentive to manage costs.  It is impossible to delude oneself into the perspective that one of these high-deductible plans constitutes an entitlement.  The last two years, since I have been on this plan we have not met the deductible, so the insurance company has paid out precisely zero.   Still, this year the cost of the policy is going up 37% on top of the 24% that it went up last year.   Why?  Because most plans are not like mine.  Most have a higher premium paid by the employer, and a low deductible.  Once the deductible is met, the only thing that restrains the policy holder is a complicated set of rules set by the insurance company.  I envision this problem getting much worse under government control.   If the Federal Government can’t figure out how to move mail without the Post Office requiring a “bailout”, I would say the chance of a favorable outcome on the much more complicated issue of health care is very low.  The rhetoric attached to this debate is rife with unrealistic claims, and it isn’t even out of the gate yet.

If the Senate really wanted to improve the situation, they would tackle some specific problems (like how to provide incentives for self-restraint or tort reform) instead of trying to write behemoth bills to take over the health care industry.  Why does the bill take the form it takes?  Because it isn’t about reforming health care.  It’s about taking over.  It’s about making it illegal to decide for yourself what is best for you and then making you pay for something you didn’t need or want.

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