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Commentary

Asking for a Crisis
Investor's Business Daily, 7-31-06

In response to Senator John Kerry's proposal for universal health care coverage, the editors at Investor's Business Daily offer a different view of America's health care woes.

We'll take a chance here and say that currently covered Americans will by the tens of millions suddenly find they cannot afford health insurance and take up Washington's generous offer to pay for it with other people's money.

But let's not worry—it's only the rich who will be funding the plan. Kerry proposes repealing the elements of the economy- and federal revenue-boosting Bush tax cuts for those earning more than $200,000 a year to pay for the pool that would subsidize those who cannot afford insurance.

Somehow Kerry has convinced himself that "every day since Election Day," when he lost to President Bush in 2004, "the health care crisis has grown steadily worse."

Yet, as we have noted on this page before, there is no crisis.

To say there is one is to resort to a cheap scare tactic. The only crises are those at the individual and family levels when someone without insurance becomes gravely ill. Sickness and injury can be tragic, but making a federal case out of misfortune is not one of Washington's duties.

Want a real crisis?

Absolve people of their duty through a universal third-party payer—the government—and watch a problem erupt. With little or no money coming out of their pockets, people will overuse the system, sending costs even higher through increased demand. The strain placed on medical professionals will make waiting times unbearable. With no mechanism for self-rationing in place—such as personal responsibility or cost—the government will ration care.

For additional evidence of the downfalls of universal health care coverage, one need look no further than the British National Health Service.



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