I think one of the most destructive parts of the current Health Care Debate is our refusal to differentiate between providing health care and insuring against the cost of providing for health care.  Until we make that distinction and base policy on each part of the problem as a separate entity, we will get nowhere (unless our goal is government takeover of the entire health care industry).

It may help to look at health insurance as we do life insurance.  If a young married couple is looking at starting a family, they often consider how one of the two of them would manage to raise the children if the other died.  Key in this discussion is the matter of life insurance.  In fact, it is death insurance.  It is insuring against the negative monetary effects of a death of one (or both) of the couple.  The thinking goes that if one spouse dies, the other will not only have the burden of raising the kids alone, he or she will also need to cover all costs on one less income.  Most folks opt for enough “life insurance” to pay off the mortgage and also provide for a couple of years of living expenses.  This gives the survivor the space needed to grieve the loss and then adjust to the “new normal” without the partner.  If the cost of such a plan is too great, often couples will elect to buy enough insurance to pay burial costs and cover the mortgage payments for a couple of years.  In effect, they choose between zero protection/zero cost of insurance and buying enough insurance to carry on with the same standard of living but at a high cost of insurance.

The life insurance will often be rated and therefore priced based on the condition and habits of those insured.  If you are a skydiver with high blood pressure, you will pay more for your life insurance than if you didn’t skydive or have high blood pressure.  If you are fully insured you will spend money for insurance that you could have used for other things, but, if you die, your family will suffer less.  If you die without life insurance, your surviving family will suffer more from your decision. This is a personal decision and should not involve government.

If the same young family is considering health care costs, they may decide to buy insurance.  It normally makes sense to budget for a certain amount of cost and protect against higher than budgeted costs by purchasing insurance.  Typically a family will buy an insurance plan that will clearly state what is and is not covered.  It will cost a bit upfront each time they visit a medical facility or buy a prescription, but the remainder is normally covered by the insurance.  The premium for this insurance is again rated and priced based on risk factors.  A 60 year old diabetic will typically pay more for the same plan as will a 30 year old athlete.

Buying insurance is a prudent way to cover costs that exceed what you budget.  This decision is also a personal one that should not involve government.

If making health care insurance available to everyone is the goal of “Health Care” legislation, and I don’t think this is a government function, then, it should address health care insurance.  However, if in doing so, the government set prices and terms of insurance, that is price fixing, a government endeavor that has never been successful.  Regulating Insurance is different than providing health care to everyone or making health care a government activity, or saying that it should cost the same for all Americans to get health care.

Actual Health Care, not insurance, is that combination of personal habits (eating, exercise, etc.) and medicines/medical procedures that help people to maintain healthy, functional bodies and minds.  It has nothing to do with insurance companies unless a person wants to budget the cost of health care by using a combination of cash and insurance coverage.  If you consider it important to your health to consume only organic vegetables, you must budget to buy those vegetables.  They may be more expensive than budgeting to buy macaroni and cheese for every meal, but if you believe that your health will be better and you will have fewer health care costs if you pay the price to eat right, you are free to do that.  Should the government require you to eat organic vegetables instead of macaroni and cheese?  If you feel it is important to your health not to smoke, it is your choice to refrain from smoking.  Should the government forbid you from smoking?  If you think it is healthy for you to stay in good cardio-vascular condition, you can run or walk or ride or dance or swim on a regular basis to maintain your condition.  Should the government force you to swim a mile a day?

All these things have been shown to improve your health.  So many wise people practice many of these healthy habits.  But what do you do if you lose your health? Often, you seek help from medical professionals.  Sometimes you are prescribed special curative medicines.  This medical care costs money.  People, especially highly trained professionals do not give away their time and efforts.  Should our government dictate how much professional care each of us is entitled to get?  Should it dictate the cost and availability of such care?  I think the answer is “No.”

The recent “Obamacare” legislation does not distinguish between insurance and care or government control of the health care industry or who should pay for what and how much.  It just lays the foundation for a complete government takeover of health care.

I think our Federal Government has no place being involved in health care to anything near the extent mandated by “Obamacare.”  I have not been able to find anywhere in our constitution or the intent of the founders of our country that citizens have a right to health care and that it should be provided/controlled by government.  Please show me where I am wrong.

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