Friday Rant: Healthcare and the Supply Chain: The State of the Union — How Not to Reform Healthcare

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The President made health-care reform (now known as "health-insurance reform") one of the signature items of his agenda. And in spite of what seemed like a resounding rejection of his health-care approach by the voters of Massachusetts in electing Republican Scott Brown to fill the seat held by Ted Kennedy for decades, he made it clear in his State of the Union address that he remains resolute in moving the plan forward, even if no one really understands it, or knows what is in either bill, or what will really happen if it's passed. For example, both bills appear to create large new government beauracracies with the power to take whatever would pass and turn it into whatever the President ultimately wants. Underlying the push for reform is the belief on the part of the administration and the Democrats that health care is a fundamental right.

Once healthcare becomes a right, it opens the door for the federal government, the "protector of rights," to control more and more of what happens, and who gets what. Both bills could just be Trojan Horses sold to the public as gifts (a few months ago Speaker Pelosi pushed it as a Christmas gift to the American people), but if it's passed, no one really knows whether the hollow horse is empty or filled with unintended consequences.

While the President's goals of eliminating pre-existing conditions, loss of coverage when a job is lost, or exceeding lifetime policy maximums seem laudable, he seems to either not understand business economics, or just chooses to ignore them. Increasing the costs to a business will require increases in prices; those price increases will be passed on to the customers of that business, or the business will fold. The notion that we can fix it all, have everything we need, and save the world is simply not realistic unless he plans to cap what insurance companies can charge. And that opens a whole new can of worms. In the supply chain If you change a specification, a design, or a service level, you know that the supplier's cost will change, and that the price you pay will also change.

The Bottom Line: The fundamental issue surrounding healthcare reform Is whether or not health care is a right granted by the U. S. Constitution. That issue must be resolved before moving forward with any kind of sweeping legislation; otherwise, anything passed becomes another unfunded liability that might bring comfort to some in the short term but damage the republic in the long term. If this cannot be resolved by lawyers and constitutional scholars, it should be brought before the people as a referendum. Our representatives are sent to Washington to pass laws, but they should not have the power to determine our values as a people. Lynn James Everard

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