Blue Water Tea Party

Help put your nation's feet back on the path on which our nation was founded

Silent Majority No More

Health Care Town Hall Provides Information and
Reflects Public Concerns About Government Takeover of Health Care
 
Over 300 citizens gathered in the Port Huron City Municipal Building Auditorium on Tuesday, August 25th to share concerns, learn more about issues in the health care industry and also federal measures proposed for reforming the system. The forum featured a panel that included Jamie Roe, chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Candice Miller; Rep. Phil Pavlov, District 81-St. Clair Twp.; Dr. Sharon Mitchell, a family practitioner; Dr. Michael Balok, an ophthalmologist; Dr. David Hindy, a family physician; Judy Hindy, a nurse; and Grant Smith, a local insurance agent. Attorney David Black was unable to appear due to a pressing case.
 
MISSING IN ACTION: U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and U.S. Senator Carl Levin.
Invitations were extended to both of our senators, neither of whom was able to attend or who offered to send a representative from their office. They have been regularly unavailable to meet with the public at town hall meetings focused on health care reform since Congress recessed the beginning of August. Not only do we need them to answer questions for us, we want them to understand our concerns and feelings on health care reform. Isn't that the way it's supposed to work? They listen to their constituents and represent them?
 
Throughout the evening as information was presented, opinions expressed and questions asked, those attending seemed largely in agreement on the following in regard to government takeover of the health care system: 
 
  • They are concerned about their privacy under government control
  • They are doubtful about government efficiency or its ability to manage costs
  • They believe current proposals show the government wants control more than in anything
  • They want to remain in control of their health care choices and decisions
  • They believe the free-market system is best, although changes are needed
  • They want the government to take time to study reform and get it right
  • They do not want their taxes funding abortion
  • They believe no illegal immigrants should be covered
  • They believe coverage can be expanded and costs reduced by reforming the current system 
  • They agree that no health system can replace personal responsibility
 
NO ONE WAS AGAINST HEALTH REFORM. All agree it is needed. The debate is about how reform can be best accomplished and who retains control. The two greatest concerns are COST and CONTROL. Should the government become the single-payer of health services, the benefits of free-market competition including higher quality, lower price and choice will be forfeited. Medicare and Medicaid, both government-run health care programs, are fraught with financial problems. Government run programs have ended up costing more than expected while delivering less than promised. There is no reason to think the government will succeed with a more massive program without increasing costs or rationing care. While the government might succeed in getting more people covered, the overall quality of care will go down, not up, and the overall cost will go up, not down. Reference was made to systems in Great Britain and Canada where the public must endure long waiting periods to be seen and even longer delays in getting tests or surgery, waiting that can significantly change outcomes.
 
"They are taking an idea that doesn't work in theory
and are trying to force it into reality."
- Rep. Phil Pavlov, MI-District 81
 
Jamie Roe pointed out that even if you are assured you can keep your current plan, there is no guarantee that you will. In the end, such assurances leave most Americans at the mercy of their employer. And, any employer looking to cut costs may eventually feel they can no longer afford to provide their employees with private insurance. In the face of this reality, such assurances offer false security. Accepting a plan in which a public option is a choice will gradually result in no choice at all. Private insurers simply will not be able to compete with tax-funded government care. Proponents of universal government controlled health care know this.
 
Some areas where attendees believe free-market reform would reduce costs included lawsuit limitations (tort reform), making system more efficient through standardization and allowing doctors tax credits for volunteer work in free clinics. Several expressed that as with home and auto insurance, health insurance should cover catastrophic care only. They say insurance costs are driven up by policies covering doctor visits, lab work and other routine preventive care, whereas auto insurance doesn't cover oil changes or new tires or brakes, nor does homeowners insurance cover furnace tune-ups or re-roofing your house.
 
We learned from doctors of the additional staff ($$) and time invested in processing paperwork for their participation in government reimbursed programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and how they must carefully track and pursue every claim submitted for reimbursement or lose right to the funds completely if the government doesn't produce payment in the time period allotted. We also learned how these programs prohibit doctors who would otherwise be willing from being able to provide services at reduced rates in order to help out those who are in difficult financial situations due to the economy. 
 
State Sovereignty was another topic that entered discussion. The principle is based on the Constitution giving all powers not articulated as belonging to the federal government to each state to decide for itself. Many states, Michigan among them, are working to reassert this important principle from which we have strayed. Over the years, states have voluntarily deferred to the federal government in areas in which it has no Constitutional authority. Our founders never intended for our government to control the people, but for the people to control the government. They realized that this would be much more effectively done at the state level. They understood that our nation would be best protected from tyranny by the decentralization of power. Rep. Pavlov mentioned that he is involved with introducing legislation along these lines related to the second amendment.
 
The evening was very well behaved, although not without passion. A few asked questions or expressed opinions that seemed to disagree with the majority of views expressed and supported. They seemed to think that care would improve under a government program, one going so far as to suggest that to reject it is not to care. The truth is there are many reasons to be very concerned about current proposals. And, it is because this is so very, very important that we must take the time to research and develop reform that doesn't 'throw the baby out with the bath water.' For the good of all Americans, we must explore ways to reduce costs and expand access that don't threaten quality and freedom.
 
While reforming health care sooner would certainly be more desirable than later, it is foolish and wrong to force through any plan for the sake of expediency. Doing it right is far more important than doing it fast. Why shouldn't citizens be leery when legislators are ready to support a bill they haven't even read and when they will not publicly meet with those they are elected to represent to answer questions and hear concerns?