Health Care Reform Myths

Myth
Only national health care can provide “coverage that will stay with you whether you move, change your job or lose your job” — as Obama said in a New York Times op-ed.

Fact
The only reason you can’t keep — or often obtain — health insurance if you move or lose your job now is because of government intrusion into the free market.

You will notice that if you move or lose your job, you can obtain car and home insurance, hairdressers, baby sitters, dog walkers, computer technicians, cars, houses, food and every other product and service not heavily regulated by the government.

Federal tax incentives have created a world in which the vast majority of people get health insurance through their employers. The tax code actually punishes people who don’t get their health insurance through an employer by denying individuals the tax deduction for health insurance that their employers get.

Meanwhile, state governments must approve the insurers allowed to operate in their states, while mandating a list of services — i.e. every “medical” service with a powerful lobby.

If [health care reformers] really wanted people to be able to purchase health insurance when they move or lose a job as easily as they purchase car insurance and home insurance (or haircuts, dog walkers, cars, food, computers), they could do it in a one-page bill lifting the government controls and allowing interstate commerce in health insurance. This is known as allowing the free market to operate. http://snipr.com/rqdr4


Myth
If you like your current health insurance plan, you can keep it.

Fact
Both the House bill and the Senate HELP bill would establish a government-run insurance plan that would compete with privateinsurance.The danger of such a govern-ment-run plan is that it would encourage employers to dump workers from their cur-rent employer-provided plan into the government plan. The degree to which that would occur depends on how premiums, benefits, reimbursement rates, and subsidies are structured within the government plan.

The government-run plan would be significantly cheaper than private insurance, not because it would out-compete private insurance or because it was more efficient, but because it had unfair advantages.The lower cost means that businesses, in particular, would have every incentive to dump workers from their current health insurance plan into the government plan.

Estimates of how many people would ultimately be forced out of their current insurance and into the government plan vary widely. At the low end, the Congressional Budget Office suggests that about three million people would be involuntarily shifted to the government plan under the House bill. It bases this estimate on a premise that premiums in the government plan would be about 10 percent lower than private insurance and that the plan would be open only to employers with fewer than 50 employees. On the other hand, the independent actuarial firm Lewin Associates assumes that the government plan premiums would be 20–25 percent below private insurance, and most importantly, that the government plan would be open to all employers. Under that scenario, they suggest, 89.5 million workers would be forced into the government plan. http://snipr.com/rppy7


Myth
There is no provision for a “Death Panel” in the health care reform bill HR3200.

Fact
A government-run, socialized health care system must necessarily lead to rationing of care based on cost to the system rather than the need of the individual. As a corollary, end-of-life counseling (HR3200, Section 1233) would serve the purpose of sorting out the costly and burdensome from the system. Advanced Care Planning Consultation will serve to help them “go quietly into that good night” in order to reallocate resources to younger, healthier and more promising taxpayers. Ultimately, the elderly, disabled and terminal would be weeded out by dispassionate bureaucrats whose only concern is the bottom line. The White House Council of Economic Advisers issued a report in June explaining the Obama administration’s goal of reducing projected health spending by 30% over the next two decades. That reduction would be achieved by eliminating “high cost, low-value treatments,” by “implementing a set of performance measures that all providers would adopt,” and by “directly targeting individual providers…(and other) high-end outliers.” http://snipr.com/qiqxc

It’s true that bills contain no provision for euthanasia or mandatory end-of-life counseling, but the term “death panel” remains an effective metaphor for something very wrong about the health care bill. No, there needn’t be any formal panel of bureaucrats making life and death decisions for patients. There are other mechanisms available that perform that function; such as prescribing end-of-life counseling or denying care.

“A 64-year-old Oregon woman, whose lung cancer had been in remission, learned the disease had returned and would likely kill her. Her last hope was a $4,000-a-month drug that her doctor prescribed for her, but the [state-run] insurance company refused to pay. What the Oregon Health Plan did agree to cover, however, were drugs for a physician-assisted death. Those drugs would cost about $50.” http://snipr.com/rfw89

Also, the precedent for death panel-like practices has already been set in countries with socialized health care where “patients with terminal illnesses are being made to die prematurely under an NHS scheme to help end their lives.” http://snipr.com/rknf0


Myth
The problem with our current health care system is that it values profit over providing care.

Fact
In a free market, which we do not have, profit and care are not in conflict. Profit properly results from offering valuable products and services to satisfied consumers who voluntarily exchange value for value to mutual benefit. Any business in a free market that does not provide quality goods or services at competitive prices risks going out of business, thereby allowing entry to competition. The only thing that protects businesses from competition is government intervention; which is the type of economy we do have.

What is needed is a complete deregulation of medicine and health insurance. State mandates raise the cost of insurance by forcing people to have coverage many would never buy on their own. The federal government reinforces this crazy system by forbidding competition across state lines. Meanwhile, professional licensing and controls on medical schools keep the supply of medical services limited and prices high. That must end, along with restrictions on Health Savings Accounts. A free medical market would bring lower prices and better services. The price of insurance would come down with the price of care.

“In a capitalist system, where capital and opportunity are plentiful, individual doctors pioneer new methods of surgery and treatment. Scientists conduct research, make discoveries, and use the knowledge to create novel drugs. Engineers develop new medical equipment or improve upon the old to aid doctors in their clinical practice. Businessmen create new management and insurance models to make the healthcare industry more productive, which in turn makes healthcare more affordable for the consumer.

The demolition of profits and a more austere and coercive environment will result in the flight of significant numbers of these people from the medical field. As the profits in the industry disappear, so will the supply of mental capital, as the best minds that would otherwise fuel the advancement of the sector will leave it for more profitable ones. It is worth noting here that the term “brain drain” was coined to describe such a loss from Great Britain after socialized medicine was instituted there in the 1950s.

Collectivism transforms a free medical system from a human safety net forever increasing in size, scope, and capabilities, into a game of musical lives, all the while its advocates croon about compassion and cost-savings.” http://snipr.com/s2iwz


Myth
There are 47 million uninsured people in America that need coverage.

Fact
The talking point that there are 47 million uninsured is a statistical fabrication. Americans surveyed were asked if they had ever been uninsured within the last 12 months. This 47M figure does not take into account brief and temporary loss of health care due to job changes. Furthermore, a majority of the 47M are illegal aliens. And there are many Americans who do not want insurance. When you get down to the real number of American citizens who chronically cannot afford insurance, the figure is so small (about 20M) that it cannot possibly justify the complete overhaul and subsequent ruination of the best health care system in the world.

This oft quoted 47 million figure includes 10 million illegal aliens and 17 million citizens who can afford health care but don’t want to purchase it.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, a liberal non-profit frequently quoted by the media, puts the number of uninsured Americans who do not qualify for current government programs and make less than $50,000 a year between 13.9 million and 8.2 million. http://snipr.com/rh7al


Myth
A public option would provide competition to private insurers and “keep them honest.”

Fact
Just what is the “public option?” It’s a government-run health insurance program. It’s a health insurance program that can run forever at a deficit. It’s a government insurance program that never has to make a profit.

The President claims that the public option will keep private insurers honest. What it will in fact do is keep private insurers at a permanent disadvantage leading to their extinction and to an anti-competitive government monopoly. Single-payer means a government bureaucracy interfering in the private relationships between doctors and their patients. It is a subversion of the right to contract. A subversion of the right to use one’s judgment to act in one’s own best interest without interference. It is a subversion of the right of doctors, nurses and insurers to offer products and services to satisfied health care consumers for mutual benefit. The central planners understand full well that single-payer is not only part of health care reform, it is their singular goal.


Myth
Health care is a right.

Fact
“What is a right? The concept of a right defines freedom to act within the boundaries of the rights of others. It is contradictory to claim that a person has a right to a good or service that requires, for its fulfillment, the violation of someone else’s rights. If the exercise of a patient’s so-called ‘right’ to healthcare imposes obligations on taxpayers to pay for it and healthcare practitioners to provide it, then it is not a right, but an attempt to enslave one part of the population for the benefit of another part.” http://snipr.com/rdy6y

Not a Right: Peikoff: http://snipr.com/mi78y
Not a Right: Rosen (Denver Post): http://snipr.com/rfsg5
Not a Right: Mackey (WSJ): http://snipr.com/pybij
Not a Right: Dalrymple (WSJ): http://snipr.com/rfsgt


Myth
National health care won’t cover abortions.

Fact
Democrats rejected an amendment to HR3200 that would specifically deny coverage for abortions.

In his address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night, President Barack Obama said the health care plan he is pushing will not provide federal money for abortions. But pro-life congressmen and Planned Parenthood agree that abortion would be covered under the plan under an amendment sponsored by Rep. Lois Capps (D.-Calif.). http://snipr.com/rs8vo


Myth
Our health care system is broken. It was broken by the free market.

Fact
Our health care system is breaking. It is being broken by government.

Our health care system does not operate in a free market but in a heavily regulated one. The system is not yet broken but it is greatly impaired by government intervention that has led to increasing costs and reduced quality. The problems we experience in health care are due to the failure of an un-free market; that is, the failure of government interventionism.

Even so, “Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers. Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the United Kingdom and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher. Furthermore, Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians. Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries. Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians. Lower-income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians. Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the United Kingdom. Canadian and British patients wait about twice as long—sometimes more than a year—to see a specialist, have elective surgery such as hip replacements, or get radiation treatment for cancer. People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed. Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians. Americans have better access to important new technologies such as medical imaging than do patients in Canada or Britain. Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations.” http://snipr.com/oof0z


Myth
Government intervention is the only way to provide coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Fact
“The problem of preexisting conditions is a consequence of decades of political controls of medicine in an un-free, heavily regulated health care market.

On a truly free market, in which insurers and their customers were free from today’s political controls, people would tend to buy insurance directly, rather than get stuck with the few non-portable plans their employer chooses for them.

In a free market, insurers would be free to offer more plans to more people, and consumers would be free to shop around, regardless of state boundaries. Politicians would no longer coddle insurers with protectionist controls and tax favoritism.

In a free market, insurers would compete on the basis of quality, security, and transparency of contract. Today, because of political controls, insurance companies face little real competition, and they would face even less under Obama’s policies.

In a free market, insurance companies would be able to offer long-term policies that today are politically impossible.” http://snipr.com/ru41u

“It is true that patients today with preexisting medical problems can have difficulty purchasing health insurance. But forcing insurers to cover such patients is not the solution. On the economic level, such coercion would create many new problems. For instance, under such legislation patients would have a strong incentive to delay purchasing insurance until they got sick, knowing they could not be denied coverage at that time. Why pay for insurance before you need it if you can wait and purchase it when you need it? Thus, many people would simply go without insurance until they needed medical care, at which time they would purchase an insurance policy and receive immediate coverage far in excess of the price paid for the policy. Such laws would legalize plunder.

To cover their increased costs, insurers would have to raise rates for everyone—as they have already had to do in states such as Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey, where insurers are currently saddled with such legislation. And, of course, as insurance prices rose, politicians would demand that everyone be required to purchase insurance to “spread the costs more equally”—as politicians in Massachusetts have already done and as politicians in the Democratic-controlled Congress are currently proposing. The result would be mandatory insurance—with its associated problems of long waits for care, skyrocketing costs, and economic hardships for patients and doctors.” http://snipr.com/rr76w

The only reason most “pre-existing” conditions aren’t already covered is because of government regulations that shrink the insurance market to a microscopic size, which leads to fewer options in health insurance and a lot more uninsured people than would exist in a free market. If we had a free market in health insurance, it would be inexpensive and easy to buy insurance for “pre-existing” conditions before they exist. The vast majority of “pre-existing” conditions that currently exist in a cramped, limited, heavily regulated insurance market would be “covered” conditions under a free market in health insurance.


Myth
Health care reform is not socialism.

Fact
Socialism is the political-economic system of collectivism that demands that the individual be subordinate to the collective, and that his individual values be subsumed in favor of mystical social values. As Ayn Rand put it, “Socialism is the doctrine that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that his life and his work do not belong to him, but belong to society, that the only justification of his existence is his service to society, and that society may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good.” A government-run health care system that forcibly distributes a value among all members of society for the common good, over against the individual good, fits the description of socialism.


Myth
Single-payer is not part of health care reform.

Fact
Single-payer is indeed part of health care reform so long as the public option is in the bill. The “public option” is a one-way ticket to single-payer, government-run health care. It is designed to squeeze out private insurance providers and push insurance consumers into the government plan, leading to single-payer.

If a government-run system can drive up the cost of private insurance with mandates and subsidize government insurance with the taxpayers’ money, how long do you think it will be before we have the “single payer” system?

  • Sen. Obama (D-IL): “I don’t think we’re going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately. There’s going to be potentially some transition process” (3/24/07 at SEIU “Universal Health Care Forum”); and “I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care system” (2003 at AFL-CIO event)
  • Barney Frank (D-MA): “I think if we get a good public option, it could lead to single-payer; that’s the best way to reach single-payer” (7/27/09)
  • Jan Schakowsky (D-IL): “And next to me was a guy from the insurance company, who then argued against the public health insurance option, saying ‘it wouldn’t let private insurance compete’ — that ‘a public option will put the private insurance industry out of business and lead to single-payer.’ He was right! The man was right!” (4/18/09)

Myth
We already pay for other people’s health care

Fact
The costs of health care are rising precisely because of heavy government interference. The solution is not more government interference but, instead, a truly free market in health care. In a free market, health care costs are not borne by society. They are borne by individuals and voluntary associations. The route to reducing those costs for individuals is to remove government involvement in the health care industry — and all other industries. The route to affordable health care is through the prosperity, innovation and economic freedom that comes from a complete separation of economy and state. Americans don’t have a problem accessing health care. They have a problem accessing free market health care; health care that is not burdened by government interference and the consequent costs and barriers that come as a result.


Myth
Medicare is a government-run health care programs and it is doing fine.

Fact
Medicare’s unfunded liability—the gap between revenues and promised benefits—is currently some $37 trillion over the next 75 years. Yet the President uses this insolvency as an argument to justify the creation of another health-care entitlement, this time for most everyone under age 65. It’s like a variation on the old Marx Brothers routine: “The soup is terrible and the portions are too small.” http://snipr.com/rr68s

“A report issued by the trustees who monitor the fiscal health of Medicare and Social Security estimate the fund for hospital bills in the Medicare program will run dry by 2019, seven years sooner than predicted last year, largely thanks to the new Medicare bill. Medicare begins dipping into its trust fund for the first time this year (2004).” http://snipr.com/rfuwn

“Medicare’s annual spending exceeded revenue brought in from taxes in 2008, forcing Medicare to begin spending its reserve funds. According to the Medicare Trustees, Medicare’s reserve will be empty by 2017, and Medicare will have to cut benefits or payment rates by 19% to balance its budget. Since the projected date of Medicare’s bankruptcy has been brought forward many times, it’s likely that the actual date of bankruptcy may be as early as 2015.” http://snipr.com/rfv1u

Medicare is popular with the elderly. Of course it is. Everyone likes getting free things. But it is unsustainable. Retirees believe that their Medicare bills are paid from a “trust fund” that was created with deductions from their paychecks. But this is a politician’s lie. In truth, our predecessors spent every penny of those contributions immediately. They spent them on wars and pork that helped them get re-elected. The money for current retirees’ health care is taken from today’s workers.

This Ponzi scheme worked for a while. But then more people had the nerve to live longer. The average life span increased from 71 to 78 years [http://tinyurl.com/lfmx94]. When Medicare began, there were five workers for every Medicare recipient. Now there are only four. And by 2030, the Board of Medicare Trustees expects there to be just 2.4 [http://tinyurl.com/nxks8o]. Unless millions of new young workers suddenly arrive from some other planet, there is no way that there will be enough workers to pay the Medicare benefits that the politicians have promised. Medicare’s unfunded liability is $37 trillion — yes, trillion. It’s a scam. The politicians should be ashamed of what they promised their constituents.

We locked up Bernie Madoff for far less.


Myth
Health care is already rationed by indifferent market mechanisms.

Fact
“Price distribution is not rationing. In contrast with the authoritarian distribution of political rationing, price distribution rests fundamentally on the rights of individuals to control their own resources and trade voluntarily with others.” http://snipr.com/rel04 “Rationing is defined by three essential characteristics. First, rationing means that some central authority distributes goods or services. Second, the property rights to the goods or services are usurped or not clearly defined. Third, under rationing, recipients have some recognized claim to a portion of the goods or services.” http://snipr.com/rfua5

“To see that the market does not ration one need only see that ‘the market’ doesn’t DO anything. To talk as if it does things is to reify the market — worse, it is to anthropomorphize the market, ascribing to it attributes — purposes, plans, and actions — that only human beings possess.” http://snipr.com/rfsyj

However, with government-controlled health care we would have a system in which we create centralized pools of money controlled by the government from which virtually all health care expenditures must be paid. Ad hoc, involuntary rationing then becomes necessary. This is because these centralized pools of money, while potentially very large, are still necessarily limited in size; whereas the ultimate cost of buying all the potentially useful health care for everyone who might benefit is fundamentally unlimited.

The market was never designed by people to achieve a specified goal. It is not a device or an invention aimed at satisfying an intention. The concept “market mechanism” is a metaphor. The market — as a set of continuing relations among people — emerged, unplanned and unintended, from exchanges, initially barter, in which the parties only intended to improve their respective individual situations.


Myth
A majority of Americans want universal health care.

Fact
“As August winds down, the good news for President Obama and congressional Democrats is that support for their proposed health care legislation has stopped falling. The bad news is that most voters oppose the plan. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey show that 43% of voters nationwide favor the plan working its way through Congress while 53% are opposed.” http://snipr.com/rfwwm

Pollster.com: National Job Approval of Obama on Health Care shows 41.6% Approve, 48.7 Disapprove. http://snipr.com/rfwx6


Myth
Health care reform is all about helping people.

Fact
Health care reform is all about controlling people.

A constituent at the meeting, quite reasonably, asked Mr. Moran the following question: “There is $200 billion of savings over 10 years if you have [lawsuit] reform, and nobody loses but the lawyers. Why isn’t [tort] reform in the bill?”On this question, as on more than half of those asked by the audience, Mr. Moran deferred to his guest, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, to provide a response. Mr. Dean’s answer was candid: “When you go to pass an enormous bill like that, the more stuff you put in it, the more enemies you make. The reason that tort reform is not in the bill is because the people who wrote it did not want to take on the trial lawyers in addition to everybody else they were taking on, and that is the plain and simple truth…. This bill has enough enemies. The more groups you take on, the more enemies you make.” When Mr. Moran retook the microphone, he praised the constituent for “a very good question” and added, “that’s your answer … a good answer.” http://snipr.com/rgje9


Myth
Countries with socialized health care have a better life expectancy than the United States.

Fact
Life expectancy and infant mortality statistics are notoriously poor measures of the quality of a nation’s health care system. For instance, more Americans are killed in car accidents and homicide than in Canada and Europe. According to ABC News, if one adjusts for these fatal injuries, then U.S. life expectancy is actually higher than in nearly every other industrialized nation. International comparisons of infant mortality rates are similarly suspect. The U.S. counts any premature infant born with a heartbeat as a live birth even if it survives only a few hours. Many European countries count such children as “stillborn” if they weigh less than 1 pound even if they show a heartbeat. Japan doesn’t count such infants as “live births” unless they survive for more than 24 hours.


Myth
Government-run, socialized health care would not lead to rationed care.

Fact
Any plan to reduce overall costs while adding tens of millions of users to the healthcare system will lead to the rationing of resources. A new report from the American Association of Medical Colleges underscores the urgency of this concern. The Association notes that the United States now suffers from a shortage of 15,000 doctors – a shortfall that is expected to grow to 125,000 in fifteen years. And, the Association reports, if universal health insurance is passed, the shortage will grow to over 150,000 by 2025. While the number of elderly people in the U.S. is expected to grow by 60% over the next decade and a half, the number of doctors will increase by only about 6%. (Total U.S. population will rise by about 17% over the same period). This shortage of doctors will, inevitably, lead to the rationing of medical care, more quickly and drastically if the Obama plan is passed.


Myth
Insurance companies deny claims in order to make a profit.

Fact
“On a truly free market, health insurance companies would compete, in part, on clarity of contract. Moreover, the government would resume its proper role of ensuring enforcement of contract and resolving contractual disputes. However, on a free market, insurers and their clients have every right to voluntarily agree to terms. People could voluntarily agree to enter a system of rationing, such as one involving ad hoc decisions about medical necessity. Significantly, on a free market, people would also be free to exit such a system. No doubt practically everyone would prefer a stable, long-term, well-defined insurance contract — if only insurance companies were free to offer one without political controls. Such contracts would involve no rationing when insurers declined to cover care explicitly not covered by the contract.” http://snipr.com/rhpe0

In a free market, if a business does not satisfy consumer demand then more able competitors are attracted to enter the market, underbid their business with a superior offering, attract their customers away and expose them to bankruptcy. Right now we have a heavily regulated health care system that inhibits entry, constrains operations, increases the cost of doing business and protects industry giants. This creates an unfree atmosphere in which to conduct business where only the biggest and well-connect corporations can afford to operate. These conditions encourage consolidation and the lobbying for legislative favors that would protect their businesses from competition. Profit is what makes any enterprise worthwhile. Without the prospect of profit, businesses have no reason to offer products or services in the first place. In a costly, unfree and heavily regulated marketplace, the drive to maintain profitability becomes even more imperative — and much more difficult. This government coercion causes business concerns to shift away from quality, service and price toward regulatory compliance, licensing requirements, risk and liability insurance, and ‘cutting corners’ to remain viable. They may even be encouraged to engage in unethical practices such as turning away worthy customers to avoid losses.


Myth
Opponents of Obamacare are “anti-health care reform.”

Fact
This claim is nonsense. “What Obama offers is not ‘reform,’ but merely more of the same sorts of political controls that caused existing problems in medicine. Continued tax distortions promoting expensive, non-portable, employer-paid insurance. More political controls that jack up insurance premiums. Probably laws outlawing low-cost, high-deductible policies. More forced wealth transfers. Real health care reform means respecting liberty and individual rights in medicine. It means respecting people’s rights to control their own resources and enter into voluntary agreements. Politicians should neither compel interactions, as through insurance mandates, nor forbid them. The proper role of government is to enforce individual rights, which means to protect people from force and fraud and otherwise leave them free to lead their lives according to their own best judgment. Real health care reform means recognizing the individual’s moral right to his or her own life. Obama’s fake “reform” means politicians and their appointed bureaucrats telling people what to do. Advocates of real health care reform want expanded Health Savings Accounts with low-cost, high-deductible insurance, rolled back insurance controls, containment of health welfare, and tort reform.” http://snipr.com/ri96y


Myth
Opponents of Obamacare are criminals, thugs and mobs.

Fact
“Early on the morning of Aug. 25, two people smashed 11 windows at Democratic Party headquarters in Denver. The windows were adorned with posters endorsing Obamacare. Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Pat Waak quickly lashed out: ‘Clearly there’s been an effort on the other side to stir up hate. I think this is the consequence of it.’ Clearly Waak jumped to conclusions to demonize critics of Obamacare. Unfortunately for Waak, Denver police caught one of the alleged perpetrators. Police arrested Maurice Schwenkler, a Democratic operative, left-wing radical, and gay rights activist. During the last election, a Democratic 527 group paid Schwenkler $500 to campaign for a Democratic state house candidate. Who’s ‘stirring up hate’ now, Waak? (See PeoplesPressCollective.org for details about the story.) It is true that some Obamacare protesters have gotten overly heated at public forums. That happens among the left and right. It is also true that the vast majority of those who oppose Obamacare are thoughtful, peaceable citizens exercising their First Amendment rights.” http://snipr.com/ri96y


Myth
The proposed health care system will protect your privacy.

Fact
Under the House bill, the IRS is required to make available to the new government Health Choices Commissioner established by the legislation and to each state health program all of your personal tax information. Section 431(a) of the bill says that the IRS must divulge taxpayer identity information, including the filing status, the modified adjusted grow income, the number of dependents, and “other information as is prescribed by’ regulation” to the “new Health Choices Commissioner and state health programs. Under Section 1801(a) “the Social Security Administration can obtain tax return data on anyone who may be eligible for a low-income prescription drug subsidy but has not applied for it.” The rationale for providing this confidential tax information to all these people is not only to check on the eligibility of those who are seeking federal subsidy – a possibly appropriate use of it – but, also, to those who have not applied but might be eligible. This later provision essentially authorizes the Social Security Administration to seek and obtain anyone’s income tax information under the guise of determining if they should have applied for a subsidy. This legislation requiring an agency-to-agency transfer of confidential tax information runs against the general policy of the Privacy Act which prohibits such a paper flow. Generally, information has to come from the individual involved and cannot simply be passed from one government bureau to another. The IRS takes particular pains to keep tax returns confidential and leaks are rare. But this legislation will end any hope or pretense of privacy.


Myth
We are “our brother’s keepers” and we have a moral obligation as a society to provide health care to everyone.

Fact
Health care is not a commodity held in common by the collective to be distributed fairly by a central planning authority, from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. Instead, it is a valuable service that must be created by hard work and rational thought and is brought into existence by a long train of innovations and breakthroughs through history. The present-day producers of these services thus have the moral right to own and distribute it to willing consumers on terms that are mutually acceptable . There is no “just” distribution of medical services apart from the voluntary exchanges engaged in by producers and consumers in a free market constrained by a rule of law that protects individual rights; such as the right to contract and the right to property.

Conversely, government programs that purport to guarantee universal health care for all are unjust, as there can be no “right” to goods or services that must be produced by another. Socialized health care necessarily violates the actual rights of the practitioners who would be forced to provide care on the government’s terms over their own and the taxpayers who would be forced to pay for it.


Myth
Illegal aliens would not be eligible for services under a socialized health care system.

Fact
Under HR 3200, services are not restricted to legal United States Citizens.

Congressional Research Service: “Under H.R. 3200, a ‘Health Insurance Exchange’ would begin operation in 2013 and would offer private plans alongside a public option. H.R. 3200 does not contain any restrictions on citizens—whether legally or illegally present, or in the United States temporarily or permanently—participating in the Exchange.” http://snipr.com/qiqxc

On July 30 of this year, a House committee voted against a Republican amendment offered by Rep. Nathan Deal that would have required health care providers to use the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program to prevent illegal aliens from receiving government health care services. All Republicans and five Democrats voted for it, but 29 Democrats voted against it, killing the amendment.


Myth
A guaranteed ‘right to health care’ provides equal access to rich and poor alike.

Fact
The Guardian reports that in England, “the poorer you are, and the more socially deprived your area, the worse your care and access to it is likely to be.” http://snipr.com/ro6bz

The same goes for Canada. The National Bureau of Economic Research concludes that “Canada has no more abolished the tendency for health status to improve with income than have other countries. Indeed, the health-income gradient is slightly steeper in Canada than it is in the U.S.” http://snipr.com/ro6ce


Myth
We need health insurance reform because private insurance providers are too powerful.

Fact
We can blame political controls for granting insurance companies such power. For example, tax law punishes us for buying a policy directly from an insurer if we don’t like the one or two insurance plans most employers offer. If you want to purchase insurance directly, you are forbidden from buying a more affordable policy available in another state. http://snipr.com/ro6db

Tax law also favors insurers by punishing those who save to pay directly for medical expenses while favoring comprehensive health plans that pay for routine and predictable expenses. Not only does this discourage price competition and prudent consumption of treatment, it further empowers insurance companies over your medical choices.

In a free market for insurance, we could buy the insurance product that best fits our needs and risk preferences. Absent policies that shield insurers from competition and accountability [http://snipr.com/ro6ei], insurance companies would scramble to make products to attract customers. Not only would they compete on price and the size of their network, but also on reputation and transparency.


[Erika Franzi contributed to this report.]

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About Tim Peck

Unaffiliated Objectivist
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