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Herb Kohl is Wrong, Universal Health Care is not Health Care Reform


By Aaron M. Rodriguez

Senator Herb Kohl Endorses Universal Health Care

Herb Kohl

Published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Senator Herb Kohl wrote a piece endorsing President Obama’s push for health care reform. Although everyone wants health care reform, not everyone wants the kind of health care reform that Herb Kohl advocates.

Americans understand that government run systems are generally more inefficient and costly than privatized systems. When the element of competition is mixed with the desire for prosperity, more people win. Businesses are compelled to outperform their competitors, customers get a better product for generally a better price, and government reaps the benefit of a successful private sector through increased tax revenues. However, not all Americans are friendly toward capitalism. Career government bureaucrats like Herb Kohl believe that a larger government is necessary to control and eventually own the flow of commodities in the free market.

In his article to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Herb Kohl says this:

 

We have fallen far behind other nations that provide coverage to all their citizens and still deliver better quality care at lower cost. We desperately need to catch up before health care costs threaten to destroy us. America spends more on health care than any other country, yet in 2004 we ranked 26th in life expectancy and 32nd in infant mortality.

A Critique of Herb Kohl's Statement on Universal Health Care

In one short paragraph, Herb Kohl has managed to make at least three mistakes. First, we have not fallen behind other nations in health care delivery. On the contrary, we lead the world in health care innovation, technology, and pharmaceuticals. Americans have the greatest survival rate for 13 of 16 different forms of cancer out of any nation on earth. Furthermore, patients from nations like Canada and England have less access to medical technology than Americans such as open heart surgery centers, MRIs, CT scanning centers, and cardiac catheterization centers. To date, our health care progress has been achieved off the back of free market enterprise, not rationed government run health care. Medical advancements through free market competition is a salient fact that liberals like Herb Kohl seemingly forget when they try to advance government run health care.

Second, Herb Kohl is right that we need to do something about the skyrocketing costs of health care. However, Kohl lives in fairyland if he thinks expanding health care to everyone will reduce costs. Part of the reason why Wisconsin has such a high budget deficit is because we have expanded Badger Care Plus to include adults with no dependent children. Given the penchant of our culture to abuse free services, adding universal health care will greatly promote unnecessary health care costs. Mr. Obama's quasi-universal health care proposal is anticipated to cost an additional 1.5 trillion over the next decade, and only 16 million out of the 50 million that are supposedly uninsured will be covered under the plan. Consider the costs of medicare for example. According to a report by the Joint Economic Committee of Congress,

“Medicare has the least generous benefits package among leading forms of insurance. Medicare covers 56 percent of total health care expenses, while typical employment-based health insurance covers 70 percent.”

Medicare does not have a good track record in cost savings. From 2000-2005, Medicare's share of the GDP grew to 17%. And this is just Medicare; it does not include other socialized programs like Medicaid and Social Security. Expanding Medicare will only drive up spending and taxation with the efficiency so often seen in government programs.

And third, our life expectancy and infant mortality has little to do with a privatized health care system. Obesity is one of the more significant factors in a shortened life expectancy, and Americans tend to be a lot more obese than other nations. In fact, Canada's life expectancy rate is higher than the U.S., but their obesity rate is at 14% whereas the United States is about 30%. And this of course, excludes the fact that most deaths occur without any intervention of the health care system at all. Examples of premature death would include murder, manslaughter, car accidents, drownings, hypothermia, heat stroke, death while sleeping, and even on the toilet (a lot more common that people think). So unless Herb Kohl can present data that the privatization of health care is the culprit for our increased mortality rates, then he should stay silent and let the adults talk about real health care reform like Congressman Paul Ryan.

Comments (4)
  • Carol Sirko

    I am against the Universal Health care plan. Please represent me in your vote.

  • Jason Crye

    Carol,

    The newest article can be found here.

    http://www.thehispanicconservative.com/herb-kohl-is-wrong-again-on-health-care-reform.html

  • Janet Freyer  - Health Care Bill

    1. I would like to know if you have read the ENTIRE health care proposal.
    2. Is there a provision in the bill that would exempt Nevada from paying for their own health care (like the other 49 states will have to do) or will they be reimbursed by the federal government. Rumors that the senior senator has made special provisions for his own state. If he has made any such provisions -- why is his the only state that is has this provision and is special.
    3. Why is approximately 1/2 trillion being taken out of Medicate.
    4. If you vote for the bill with any of these provisions in it, you will have lost my support. Worse yet, you will have lost my vote in the future.

  • Jason Crye

    Janet,

    Thanks for responding. No, I have not read the entire bill. I perused parts of the House version of the HR 3200. Realistically, there is no way I could read and understand the entire bill.

    The parts I read were tough to comprehend partly because of the stylistic language and because of the over-abundance of cross references to other parts and sections of the bill.

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Universal Health Care