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Rob and Lauren Hudson: Letter of Common Ground about freedom and health care

Letters for families based on the book “It Can Be Done” @studentsleadusa

We write to comment on calls for more government control of healthcare markets. We begin with the positive. Our healthcare system has delivered remarkable medical technology and advances, leading to longer lives and some of the most effective treatments in the world.

It’s no secret, however, that healthcare has become very expensive. In response, our governments have helped people with their healthcare through Medicare, Medicaid, CHIPS, Veterans Administration, workers’ compensation, social security administration disability coverage, and that’s just to name a few.

Out of our population of approximately 325 million, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated in 2016 that the government helped cover more than 110 million Americans, with less than 10% of the population lacking coverage. People lacking coverage can often visit emergency rooms (which must treat everyone) and public clinics. Without minimizing the major struggles that costs can create for families, the fact remains that nearly 100% of the population has at least some access to care.
Our compassionate nation continues to debate how to provide more assistance.  Some Americans think all citizens should have all their healthcare needs no matter their behaviors, circumstances, willingness, or ability to pay. They want the government to take over as the “single-payer” for all healthcare to make full healthcare a legal right, an entitlement, for all Americans.
With a government “single-payer,” the government would set prices and determine the care for which it will pay, which necessarily includes controlling the care we receive. Government officials would manage payments and the structure for healthcare, nearly 18% of the economy. Government could, at least in theory, control our personal lives by limiting our healthcare if we engaged in certain behaviors.

With government control, incentives to develop new treatments could decrease.

Care and service levels for many people could decline, with rising overall costs. Healthcare providers could have less money to pay their workers because fixed government rates could artificially limit pay. This would lead to fewer Americans choosing to work in healthcare, with fewer businesses developing new technologies and cures. Shortages and delays would occur – common circumstances with socialism.

The federal government has had an ongoing dry run with “single-payer,” and at times it has not gone well. It has controlled and funded socialized care for our military veterans through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Despite increased funding, the Veterans Administration operated with a series of public scandals, delays in care, and inefficiencies, harming veterans. Our government suffered failures to manage healthcare competently for even this very small, and very important, percentage of the population.

Many Americans want free-market ideas like increasing competition and the supply of medical providers, which could decrease costs. If you doubt capitalism and charity can improve healthcare, think about how Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have donated more than 30 billion dollars to charity.

Charitable donations alone, if Americans direct more of them to healthcare, can provide care for all or most Americans in poverty.

Frost Brown Todd LLC Member Rob Hudson is a Past Chair of the Northern Kentucky Chamber and a business lawyer. 2018 Independent Author of the Year Lauren Hudson is a Singletary Scholar at the University of Kentucky. Their next letter will explore common ground about government control and higher education.

Think about how Bill Gates and Microsoft changed business and computers. Other entrepreneurs can revolutionize healthcare. With healthcare, the stakes couldn’t be higher. At this time, Americans are not ready to bet their lives on socialism as the economic system to deliver our healthcare solutions.
As our nation’s “single-payer” debate continues, we call on parties provide specific answers to specific questions. How much will it cost? Who will pay? How will it affect quality of care? How will it affect supply? How will it affect demand? Who will determine what attention people get? Will the government charge more in taxes based on people’s fitness and eating habits?

Will the government ration or withhold care? How will we fund it given our federal government debt of more than 24 trillion dollars? Is there a chance it will collapse the economy? Will the government ask young, successful healthy people to fund more of everyone else’s healthcare? Is that a fair approach?
Politicians should not broadly propose more government without providing reliable, thoughtful answers to the above questions. In the absence of a minimum threshold of accurate answers, our common ground should include refraining from supporting more government power over our healthcare.

It’s reasonable to want something as important as America’s life-saving healthcare to be delivered mostly via free enterprise rather than socialism.

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