Reports from the field: Our Country’s Second Health Care War

If “HillaryCare” in the early 1990s was the nation’s first health care war, we’re well into the second war with ObamaCare 2009.

As I noted here, and as commentary and news consumers across the nation are fully aware, the battle is fully engaged by both sides: those who want to increase government’s role, and those who want consumers to be in charge.

I don’t spend a lot of time on policy issues like health care – but I link the following articles because it supports my central arguments. Republicans are not losing because we’re wrong on the issues or because we lack for ideas and solutions. We’re losing because too few conservatives are engaged in party politics – so too few good candidates win – and too few Americans hear the message.

Greg Scandlen of the Consumers for Health Care Choices this week noted:

“Things in Washington get weirder by the day. It reminds me of a bunch of toddlers playing in the sand box. They move their toys around haphazardly – let’s put the Health IT truck over here, and Comparative effectiveness tractor over there, and the mandatory coverage wagon right here, then we’ll have the tax increase dinosaur come and smash it all. Cool!

It would be nice if they actually paid attention to what works, rather than focusing on fantasy scenarios and whimsical solutions. I had an op-ed published in the Boston Herald this week that explained how, instead of hoping for unproven remedies, policy makers should embrace the one approach that is achieving everything they have hoped to achieve for at least 40 years – consumer driven health care. It is lowering costs, reducing trend, improving health, and creating patient awareness and cost consciousness.”

Americans are now beginning to hear more from Republicans on Capitol Hill (thank God!), and the health care policy experts are in full battle mode. It’s a great time to be a health care policy geek – or to at least want to learn more about what is actually at stake. Great information abounds – below are a few examples.

First up – the Cato Institute has a website dedicated to the debate: healthcare.cato.org. As expected, it doesn’t disappoint. “Reform, yes…but the right reform” the site’s banner reads.

Here are a few of the articles on the home page in late June:

Will Obama Raise Middle-Class Taxes to Fund Health Care?

Why the Democrats’ Proposals Will Not Work

Health-Status Insurance: How Markets Can Provide Health Security

Click here to visit their excellent site.

The Manhattan Institute’s scholars have been prolific – a few recent offerings from “MI”:

Betting the future on it

By Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Washington Times
The danger is that partisan politics will drive the Democrats, who control Congress, to muscle through sweeping coverage expansions, offer yet another unaffordable health care entitlement and push the health care industry into the swamp of Washington bureaucracy and political micromanagement that has mishandled Medicare for decades.

Trying to Cover the Unenthusiastic Uninsured

By Steven Malanga, RealClearMarkets.com

[A]ny government plan would have to confront and overcome a troubling characteristic of the uninsured that rarely gets discussed in reform debates: Many of them, perhaps nearly half of the 47 million Americans without coverage, earn enough to afford insurance, or qualify for existing government health programs, but still remain without coverage. Why do they lack coverage, then? One reason is that some of them have simply decided to spend their money elsewhere.

Also on the topic of the uninsured:

The Phantom Uninsured

Editorial, Investors Business Daily
“The notion that the uninsured are without health care is bogus… They consumed an estimated $116 billion worth of health care in 2008, according to the advocacy group Families USA. Many of the uninsured are young and healthy (40% are between ages 18 and 34) and at this point in their lives, particularly in this economy, choose to put their dollars elsewhere.

And the Galen Institute’s most recent newsletter is packed. Click here to read it. Here is one example of the kind of quality materials that are presented:

Medicare: A Model Mess

Lastly, click here to read a piece by Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner.

©2009 John Francis Biver