Leftists demonize insurance companies, make dubious claims
The "Zeitgeist" column normally causes me to scratch my head, roll my eyes or groan aloud. Sometimes all three at once. Yesterday, the column, "Health care reform in dire condition," did not disappoint. I found faults and fallacies in nearly all the author's arguments.
The author's first dubious claim is that conservatives "have insisted that any reform is unnecessary or unwanted." Readers know this is false, as The Daily Targum published a letter of mine on Sept. 13, "More government will not fix broken health care," which laid out a case for free-market reforms that do not increase entitlement spending. I, of course, am not special. Many other conservatives have laid out such plans. As the vice president of the University's College Republicans, I must object to the classification of Republicans as the "party of no." Just because leftists choose to not listen to us does not mean we have no ideas and no plans.
Typical of leftists and progressives, the column turns the insurance companies into the boogey-men capitalists who will deny care to grandma if it means making an extra buck. The column laments the fact that the health care industry is being left to free markets, which — according to him — do not work. That argument assumes the government is not currently involved in the health care insurance market. Of course, government does interfere in the normal workings of health care supply and demand. By setting mandates and increasing entitlements, government programs actually increase costs and make individually-purchased insurance more unaffordable. The author writes, "The ultimate goal of health insurance companies is not to ensure the well-being of their clients, but to maximize their own profits." Again, this is supply and demand at work. In a free market, if consumers do not like their insurance providers, then they can opt out of it and switch to another, cheaper provider. They should have the freedom to do so. However, leftists want to pass a bill that would take away that liberty by forcing everyone to buy insurance — or if you are an employer, to give insurance to your employees — and failure to do so will lead to a tax increase. That is not freedom; that is government micromanaging people's lives.
The author also contends that public polling has shown that the majority of Americans support a public option. First of all, even if this were true, it would not make it right. The United States was founded under certain foundational beliefs. One of these was the principle that the majority cannot oppress the minority. Even if the majority favored a tyrannical government, we still should not accept such an outcome. Secondly, everyone knows that such polling is skewed, and the results could be dramatically altered by changing the question. Instead of asking whether people think it is "necessary to create a public health insurance plan," I could ask whether people support "government takeover of the health insurance market." Believe me, the numbers would be different. But the fact is that polling is most accurate when asking simple questions about who or what you prefer or approve of, and not specific policy questions. Furthermore, according to the latest NBC poll, "More Americans think ‘[President] Barack Obama's health care plan' is a ‘bad idea' (41) than think it's a ‘good idea' (39); last month, 42 [percent] thought it was a bad idea and 36 [percent] said it was a good idea." Maybe the majority of Americans do not favor the public option? But, unlike the column's author, I do not presume to know.
Yes, the debate over health care reform often gets overheated, but it is disingenuous to argue that it is all the blame lies at conservatives' feet. Nancy Pelosi implied protesters were Nazis, and she — along with Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. — called town hall questioners "un-American" and countless liberal journalists crudely refer to tea party participants as "teabaggers." So my recommendation to the author —and everyone else, too — is to calm down, do not call anyone Hitler, go to your doctor and take a chill pill. I think your insurance plan will cover it.
Noah Glyn is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in economics. He is the vice president of the University's College Republicans.