Published in the New York Post, July 17, 2009
Despite President Obama's lofty and appeasing rhetoric, his health-care plan is crashing against the rocks of reality, with support collapsing among an increasingly wary public and even among Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Yet the White House and Democratic leaders in Congress appear undaunted in their efforts to ram through sweeping reform legislation in record time, even as the head of the Congressional Budget Office told Congress that the bills would worsen the federal government's already bleak budget outlook.
Worse still, the CBO said the bills won't meet the president's promise of reducing health costs over the long term, saying instead the legislation would "significantly increase" costs.
Congress is planning to pay for reform largely with a tax increase on the rich, bringing total income tax rates for New Yorkers up to 59 percent.
There are better ways to solve these problems than a government takeover of our health sector. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and several of their colleagues have introduced legislation aptly called the Patients' Choice Act.
It provides a path to universal coverage by redirecting current subsidies for health insurance to individuals. It also provides a safety net that guarantees access to insurance for those with pre-existing conditions and helps millions of people out of the Medicaid ghetto.
It accomplishes the goals of moving toward universal health coverage, making health insurance portable and getting costs under control. And rather than turning the health sector over to government, it puts doctors and patients in control. What a refreshing idea!
Grace-Marie Turner is president of the Galen Institute, a nonprofit research organization dedicated to market-based solutions to the problems in our health sector.