I’m convinced that those who oppose current efforts at healthcare are against it for three key reasons:
First, they don’t trust government, especially the government living off of their tax dollars in far off Washington, D.C. Part of the distrust is due to the belief that most politicians are out of touch with the real world. Part of it is because they see most politicians as arrogant. People don’t like being talked down to and they don’t like being told to do as I say not do as I do. Why else would there be such momentum behind amendments (to HR 615) like the one offered by Congressman John Fleming of Louisiana and Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma?
Second, most see the current health care proposals as leading to a government takeover of our health care industry.
This, of course, is closely related to the distrust of Government at all levels but also reflects a desire to have control of one’s own life. Many who oppose the current proposals for healthcare reform do so because they would rather have the freedom (and the responsibility that comes with it) than to be treated like children. It may be easier to have Mom wash your clothes and feed you but almost every teenager longs for the freedom to move out of the house. Like being responsible for your own decisions on health, it is not as easy but the freedom is worth it.
Third is cost. The number one complaint with our current system is cost. Most who are against current proposals are convinced that more government intervention in our health care will drive prices up, not down. These people believe that Government mandates on health insurance providers have added big costs to individual health care bills. They believe that a big percentage of the cost of Medicare and Medicaid are transferred to the private sector. When Medicare, for example, pays only 40% of the standard fee for an x-ray, the remaining cost of the procedure is passed off on the overhead of the care giver. That increase in overhead is recaptured by raising costs for private payers. Most who oppose the current proposals for healthcare reform also believe that government is inefficient and pays more in total costs for almost everything it buys. For example, take the famous mythical “$600 hammer” (see here a piece that says there is no such thing as a $600 hammer), but it does point out how many costs government builds into anything it buys) . The government buys the exact same hammer that you can buy at your local hardware store for $30 but it pays $84. Part of the additional cost goes to compensate the provider for qualifying the hammer for military specs. Part goes for the cost to become a government contract seller. Part goes to all the additional overhead the manufacturer needs to support the paperwork and record keeping to make the sale. Then there are the costs for the government buying machine. There is the cost of the number of people and the systems that require 20 pages of forms be filled out to bid on the sale of the hammers. Then there is the office space and communications and the management of the buying offices. In short, most who oppose the current healthcare proposals feel the government is not capable of keeping a budget and would drive prices higher and faster than even our current system.
So, in summary, many people fear a loss of freedom, distrust their government, and feel government control would drive prices up faster than is currently the case. There seems to be a general feeling among those opposed to the current proposals that there are better ways to lower costs and improve access to healthcare but these better ways fail to deliver more power to politicians, so they are ignoring them.
In the next week I will have at least two more posts on this subject. One of the posts will discuss Who is in Favor of the current proposals for health care reform and why, and, the other will give an analogy to the current proposals for health care reform that are working their way through Congress.
After those two posts, I will make another attempt to give my plan to lower costs, retain or improve quality of care, and improve access. In the meantime, you can read previous related posts here, here, and here.