Health insurance hysteria

By Joseph Farah

As if government hasn’t proven itself totally ineffective and inefficient at handling its current responsibilities, there are renewed drumbeats for further federal intrusion into health care in America.

To help make the case that Washington desperately needs to get involved in providing health insurance to millions currently uncovered, the Census Bureau has released some new statistics broken down by income bracket.

Here’s the shocker: There is surprisingly little correlation between household income and coverage. And, in the last year, more Americans earning $50,000 a year or more dropped coverage than did those in lower income brackets.

Ever vigilant in search of excuses to empower government at the expense of individual rights and responsibilities, some American political activists see this trend as a positive development.

“To some extent, it is a very good thing that these middle- and upper-middle-income folks are getting into this fix,” Princeton economist Uwe Reinhardt tells USA Today. “They used to think, ‘This is just a lower-class problem,’ one faced by their gardener or cab driver. Then it hits them.”

It’s a good thing, to those folks, because they believe many upper- and middle-class Americans will now support a federal power grab in the area of health insurance.

But why are higher-income citizens having a tough time with insurance costs? It’s because these are the people getting soaked on taxes by the government. After taxes, many of these folks find they have less disposable income than those earning less and paying less. Remember, taxes represent a bigger share of Americans’ expenses than food, clothing and shelter combined.

Nevertheless, mark my words, you will be hearing more and more horror stories in the coming days about middle-class and upper-middle-class families being forced to drop health insurance. The solution offered by the Big Government crowd will always be nationalization of the health-care industry in one form or another.

Ted Kennedy is already at it. Hillary Clinton hasn’t given up. Al Gore is supporting a new “single-payer plan.” All this despite the fact that Democrats just took a beating at the polls and an initiative to accomplish much of this agenda in semi-socialist Oregon was defeated by voters 80 percent to 20 percent.

There are three fundamental and insurmountable problems with any such plans in Washington:

  • There is no justification for such action in the U.S. Constitution.

  • If taxes are high now, where will they have to be to pay for this new program?

  • New federal programs mean less individual freedom.

I don’t expect Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore or most others flirting with such plans to worry their heads about the Constitution. They have never cared about it before, so they will not consider it now. But it is a question with which Americans should challenge elected officials who support such plans.

And they also need instruction on basic economics. How much will taxes have to be raised to pay for this new coverage? Why would the very people most victimized by government’s insatiable desire for more revenues be better off with still higher levels of taxation? If so many people find it difficult to pay for health insurance, where is the money going to come from to buy it for them?

We’re strangling the most productive people in the country with confiscatory taxes and regulatory burdens. These are the very people who create jobs, who start businesses, who take risks, who innovate, who make our economy grow.

If you are really concerned about the growing number of Americans going without health insurance, let me tell you how to solve the problem – cut taxes. Cut them dramatically. Slash them and you will see the U.S. economy take off. You will see millions of jobs created. You will see more people joining the tax rolls. You will see higher wages, better jobs, new industries, new companies and far fewer people whining about health-insurance costs.

Don’t get caught up in the health-care hysteria. If Ted Kennedy, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton get their way, you will lose freedom to make your own health-care decisions. Worse yet, you will empower government to meddle in yet another aspect of your private life.