Stealth socialism

By Neal Boortz

Having observed the Republican tsunami two weeks ago, and the resulting disarray in the Democratic Party, Al Gore has announced to the world that he has found a solution to Democrat Party woes – and the solution is … (ahem) … Al Gore.

Well throw me in the briar patch. Al Gore is sounding and acting like a candidate again. What a wonderful thought! The prospect of a Bush-Gore rematch in 2004 is nothing less than delicious. Hitlary as Gore’s running mate (rumored, but unlikely) is icing on the cake.

Every campaign needs a theme, and Gore’s apparently will be to veer to the left and win votes by offering Americans something that all-too-many of them can’t refuse. Just tell them that the government will provide them with more security and make their lives easier if the people will just agree to give up a little more economic and personal freedom.

Wow, what a deal!

Gore unveiled his first major policy initiative last week in a Manhattan speech. It’s time, Gore feels, to realize that long-held dream of good Democrats everywhere – the dream of socialized medicine. Now, Big Al isn’t quite dense enough to actually use the “S” word. He knows that many Americans still aren’t exactly comfortable with the idea of socialism, so he’s calling it a “single-payer system” – the same system that is currently wreaking havoc with Canadians.

The single payer under Gore’s plan would, of course, be none other than the Imperial Federal Government. The rules for seeking medical services would be set by government. The availability of medical services would be set by government, as would the price to be paid. Doctors, nurses and other practitioners would become virtual government employees. Their every move would be choreographed by bureaucrats.

No doubt Gore’s plan would contain that wonderful little provision we saw in Hitlary’s … jail time for anyone who accepts payment for any medical care delivered outside of the system. Come on, folks. Wake up and smell the manifesto. Let’s call this what it is. When the government controls the delivery system and the pricing for any commodity, including medical care, you have socialism.

The ultimate goal, of course, is to increase dependency on government. Once Gore’s socialized medicine plan is in place and operating, Democrats would be able to frighten people just before Election Day with a threat that if the evil Republicans win “you will have to pay your own medical bills again”

We don’t need a single-payer system. There are simple solutions here – but these solutions are not popular with politicians because they reduce, rather than increase, dependency on government.

Here are just a few easy examples to show you how easy reform would really be:

First, eliminate insurance mandates. Any individual should be able to buy a health-insurance policy to cover themselves and their family without having to pay for coverage of medical costs associated with alcohol or drug abuse. In many states, the law prohibits the sale of any health insurance without that coverage. Why should you have to buy coverage for drug and alcohol abuse if you don’t drink and you don’t do drugs?

The same situation exists with maternity costs. Health insurance would be considerably cheaper if you didn’t have to buy coverage for the ordinary and expected costs of pregnancy and childbirth. See if you can find such a policy. In many states, no way.

It needs to be said here that ordinary pregnancy expenses shouldn’t be covered by any normal insurance policy. They’re insurance policies, not medical payment plans. Insurance policies cover unexpected losses, not planned ones. Pregnancy is a self-inflicted condition. Simply put, if you can’t afford the ordinary costs associated with pregnancy and childbirth, you can’t afford to have and raise a child.

Another idea – make all premiums paid for health insurance tax deductible. Your employer deducts those costs, why shouldn’t you? There is actually a reason for this: Politicians don’t like independent voters. They want you to be dependent on someone else – your employer or the government – for medical care. People with their own policies have a nasty little independent streak that is unnerving to politicians.

Third – medical savings accounts. These are legal now, but only on a limited basis. All of us should be allowed to set aside pre-tax dollars – $4,000 a year for a family would be appropriate – to cover medical costs. As funds build up, they could be transferred, again with no tax consequences, to that person’s retirement account. Again, the problem is that this plan would empower individuals. Politicians don’t like empowered individuals.

There are always private-sector solutions to grand government spending programs. Trouble is, none of these private-sector solutions increase dependency on government. Until Americans start caring as much about freedom as they do security, these private-sector solutions will stay in the shadows.