Because America is the richest nation in the world, there is truly no plausible excuse for why it cannot devise workable programs and systems of universal health care coverage and access for all of its citizens. This does not require a new government-run health care apparatus nor does this mandate that the federal government be the de facto leader of these efforts. If our primary objectives are to reduce the costs of health care and achieve high quality care for our citizens, then the role of the government must certainly be minimized because it should not be interfering with the delivery of private medical care, private insurance coverage, or the corresponding medical costs. The services, procedures, fees, and costs associated with medical care are solely within the domain of the health care industry and all of its affiliated professions. It is the primary responsibility of the professionals who deliver and manage health care everyday to develop and implement the kinds of reform that will reduce costs and achieve quality care. If the goal of health care reform is to simply provide publicly funded health care for the millions of uninsured Americans, then we should just proceed with adding millions of people to the insurance plans of Medicaid, and stop pretending to be concerned about rising costs.
We know from experience that our government has not displayed any degree of competence related to delivering and managing goods and services via a federal bureaucracy. We don’t have to look any further than at the waste, fraud, mismanagement, and looming insolvency associated with current entitlement programs. Government intervention in health care must only reflect its capacity to fill the gap or be a type of “bridge” for those who are not able to afford or obtain quality health insurance coverage. The role of the federal government in reform cannot lead to a free ride or disincentive for those who should be sharing in the extension and costs of health care. Equitable and meaningful reform must be accomplished in ways that require able-bodied citizens to make a fair personal investment and show accountability for their fair share of health care costs. We must not create another bureaucratic situation that lacks integrity, fairness, and accountability. The right kind of reform must include an incentive for people to work, be productive, take personal responsibility, and progress toward self-sufficiency.
The medical professionals, hospitals, insurance providers, community health clinics, health organizations, pharmaceutical companies, etc. are the ones who we must count on to develop the right kinds of insurance plans, medical delivery systems, and cost structures that will enable quality health care for the healthy and the not so healthy citizen. Complex issues like health care reform can only be done right under the leadership of the practitioners and organizations on the front lines of health care delivery and operations. These are the people who actually provide the services and products, and know intricately and precisely how to develop and price health care plans that are appropriate for the respective patient/client groups. They are the only ones who can accomplish this in ways that respond to the specific needs of groups of people. Politicians have no business interfering with the provision of universal health care because they don’t have a clue about what goes into pricing and product development for medical procedures and insurance plans for diverse groups of people. Only time will tell whether our nation, elected officials, and the medical professions actually possess the will, sacrifice, and commitment to do health care reform the right way and not be suckered into band-aid remedies that are professionally and politically expedient.