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Senator Bernie Sanders wrote (Valley Reporter, of August 6, 2009) about our "desire to see quick congressional action" on healthcare. He firmly agrees that congressional action is needed. And so do I. About 49 million people have no full access to the care and within nine years, 60 million will be without coverage while expenditures will eat up 20 percent of the national income. But the article blames the "private insurance companies" and "health care industry, which is spending $1.3 million a DAY on lobbying" (presumably in the Congress) but not the politicians.
Sen. Sanders didn't mention that thanks to the U.S. Congress the
insurers and hospitals are in charge and patients are not. For years
evidence has been mounting that up to 35 percent of healthcare spending
in America is sheer waste. The congressional hearings were demanded.
Yet, as recently as 2006 the U.S. Congress agreed with the hospitals
and insurers that transparency will be "too confusing." The U.S.
Congress has suppressed competition and strengthened the oligopolistic
healthcare system. The government has built monopolistic health
insurance system and monopolistic hospital system. Obviously our
politicians must be aware that such governmentally sponsored monopoly
encourages overconsumption and drives up the cost.
Thanks to the U.S. Congress, healthcare already consumes about 16 percent of the nation's economic output (twice as much as Western Europe) and yet that vast expenditure does not guarantee best medical care. The cost has been growing rapidly making the care unaffordable. Meanwhile the government has a $43 trillion debt so this debt-fueled and nation's most wasteful economic activity could continue.
Obviously such a system cannot continue. Yet, now Sen. Sanders wants the corrupt and indolent politicians to reform and run the system. He supports the effort to fix our health care system with massive 1,000 pages of additional rules, regulations and interventions -- with the promise that this muddy brew will improve our health and finances.
Can we believe that a government can run healthcare, or in fact any economic activity? The entire system that puts government in charge of economic activity is economically senseless. The consequence is certain health and financial ruin. We need to put the patient in charge -- not a government. "Government doesn't solve problems -- government is a problem."
Jarosinski lives in Waitsfield.