Op-Ed: Health Care or Health Scare from Congress By Fletcher Hall

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The House of Representatives has narrowly passed the American Health Care Act, an initiative to replace Obamacare. Next stop…the United States Senate.

The Trump administration and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives are taking much glee and credit for this legislative victory.

However, there are many unanswered questions left in the health care debate. There is the fundamental question to determine if health care is a right. Health care is a service needed by the vast majority of United States citizens, but nowhere in the United States Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, is a right to health care mentioned.

Since the founding of the nation, health care has been provided by physicians, institutions, and facilities dedicated and designed to care for the sick and injured. These facilities generally are eleemosynary or community organized and governed. Only recently have privately owned or large medical institutions become a part of the American health care system. Johns Hopkins is a prime example of growth and expansion while maintaining superior standards. Yet, even this renowned institution struggles under the yoke of the federal government’s rules, regulations, and legislation.

Governments should not be involved in the provision of medical care and services in the United States. Both federal and state governments became significantly involved in the delivery of health care with the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid legislation with the Social Security Amendments of 1965. That is when the slippery slope of government intervention in the provision of health services really began implementing onerous controls. Over some 40 years, the government’s involvement has created a monstrous, medical behemoth that Congress can neither conquer nor improve.

Having watched a large portion of the hearings and debates in Washington on repealing and replacing Obamacare, it became very obvious that the American people should not want Washington politicians dictating their health care options. This can also be said of state governments. A quote often attributed to Thomas Jefferson says, “That government is best which governs least.” It is now evident that the marketplace may well be where the health care system can function, with reasonable government oversight. There can never be financial solvency and efficient quality service in most of the American health care system as long as government is involved. This fact has been borne out since 1965. Universal health care is not the answer. What can work is the free market system functioning effectively with competition allowed to work. Resisting government intrusion and regulation needs to be imbedded in any further attempts at “health care reform.”

One of the paramount issues involved with health care is the expense of medications and the control of the pharmaceutical industry in determining prices, and the amount pharmacies can charge for the array of prescription-based drugs on the market. It may be necessary to enact separate legislation to get the costs of drugs reduced and the monopoly of the large drug companies under control. Where is Theodore Roosevelt when we need him? With the total domination of Washington by the Republicans, it seems only logical that they make efforts to control the excesses of the drug manufactures. To the members of Congress, I would say: Do something for all Americans. Exercise oversight and place necessary restrictions on the costs of drugs.

Health care in this country must be fixed. In spite of having the top medical institutions in the world such as Johns Hopkins, brilliant physicians, and extraordinary medical researchers, the intrusion, and involvement of the government has crippled our once great health care system.

With the legislative action and debate currently going on in Washington, Congress has the opportunity to reduce the influence of government in medicine. Millions of Americans are looking for health care that provides adequate services at affordable prices with less red tape.

 

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