Trojan horse: Health care plan is a gift horse you should look in the mouth
Ever played one of those shell games where the magician puts a penny under a walnut shell, shuffles the shells and then asks you to identify where the penny ended up?
Remember the story of the Trojan horse, which was presented as a gift to the Greeks and then ended up dislodging hundreds of enemy warriors inside the Greek gates?
If either rings a bell, then you should be prepared and wary for the next sleight-of-hand maneuver coming from the Obama administration -- health care.
The idea itself sounds good -- free, guaranteed health care for anyone who wants it -- all at taxpayers' expense.
But just like the saying goes, if it is too good to be true, it is.
What nobody is telling you is that there are some pretty stiff consequences when you hand over your health care to a government.
In fact, around the world, there are foreign nationals who are asking why in the world U.S. citizens would give up the competitive health care system they have for the flawed care provided by their state-run agencies.
Don't think it is true? Poke around a bit on the Internet. You will find plenty of horror stories about dealing with a government as you battle a serious illness or long wait times for care when bureaucrats decide who will be treated when.
Americans are used to choosing their doctors, too. That becomes a lost privilege when you turn over management of your health care needs to a state-run entity.
And considering the fraud in the welfare system and the concerns about how education is managed nationally, why in the world would anyone trust the government with yet another potential money-wasting, mismanaged task?
As there is more and more talk about health care reform, the proponents of state-sponsored care will talk it up -- and suggest that the extra cost, which is enormous, will be worth the benefits Americans will receive.
The result of this proposal will be less freedom to choose your own doctor and health care plan, a whole new bureaucracy poised to fail and decisions about care that are made by the same government employees who have managed the country's social welfare programs into failure and corruption.
And then there is the question of whether the leaders who are deciding the future of the health care reform plan will actually have to live under the same conditions the citizenry does. Legislators receive some of the best health care options available. Would they give up their right to choose as well? Want to place a bet on that answer?
There is no question that something needs to be done about the availability of health care -- and what it costs American families. The question is: Do we want to take a thrown-together health care plan that sets us up for lower quality care, less choice and a potential for the same kind of mea culpa that came after the ill-fated stimulus package?
Don't fall for the hype. This issue is too important to trust to a first-term president who tends to jump too quickly without thinking through the consequences -- and a Congress that rubberstamps his policies rather than really challenging him to find a workable, practical and more permanent solution.
We might be able to fix financial policy mistakes in a few months or years.
But if we get this one wrong, it will take years to overcome the damage -- and for some people, the result might be tragic as care slips and it gets harder to get basic and specialized care quickly.
Caveat emptor, America. Caveat emptor.
Published in Editorials on June 30, 2009 12:30 PM