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The Federal Health Care Muggers

Finally, the proposed new mandates on insurers violates their rights by preventing them from offering current individual insurance plans to new customers, even if customers wish to purchase them. Instead, the government will dictate what plans they must offer and at what prices -- turning them into little more than heavily-regulated subcontractors for the government, akin to public utilities or the postal service.

The central planning approach to health care is doomed to fail, as it already has in Massachusetts, where insurance costs have risen twice as fast as the national average. The Massachusetts system is kept afloat only through hundreds of millions of dollars in annual federal waivers and subsidies -- the taxpayers of the other 49 states.

The next ominous step for Massachusetts is the recent state commission proposal to control costs by paying doctors and hospitals a fixed annual fee for taking care of each patient. If a patient needs more care than his allotment, then the doctor and hospital absorb the cost. If a hospital can skimp on treatments, then it keeps the money saved.

Imagine you got sick but were near the end of your annual allotment. Could you trust your doctor to give you objective advice if he would incur a financial penalty for recommending a more expensive surgery over less-expensive medications? Could you rely on him to act in your best interests?

From this point, it's a small step to the rationing that patients in Canada and Great Britain routinely endure when they wait months for their government-approved MRI scans or chemotherapy. This is the dead end of all forms of "universal health care."

Whenever the government attempts to guarantee a service such as health care it must also control it. Under the proposed congressional plan, Washington bureaucrats won't just take our money in the form of higher taxes -- they'll also take control of our health care.

At least a simple mugger offers you the choice of "your money or your life." The new health care muggers in Washington will deprive you of both.