The Republicans Inconsistency

by | Jan 2, 2003

New Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist wants to promote Medical Savings Accounts as health care reform. Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) allow individuals to set aside money tax-free and roll it over every year to pay everyday medical expenses. The accounts are then combined with a less expensive catastrophic health plan (purchased by the consumer or […]

New Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist wants to promote Medical Savings Accounts as health care reform.

Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) allow individuals to set aside money tax-free and roll it over every year to pay everyday medical expenses. The accounts are then combined with a less expensive catastrophic health plan (purchased by the consumer or his employer) to protect the patient from massive, unexpected health bills. MSAs are, in effect, IRAs for health care. They represent the partial, though not full, privatization of health care. Full privatization could only be achieved through phasing out Medicare, scheduled to go bankrupt in the not-too-distant future. MSAs are a start; a step in the right direction. That’s the good news.

Now for the bad news.

Senator Frist’s heart “bleeds” for the uninsured. He wants to do something for them.

What does he wish to do for them, with the money of taxpayers? That remains unspecified. Many of these uninsured are uninsured by choice — either out of negligence, or rational risk-taking in that they are young and healthy, or temporarily between jobs or school. Senator Frist and his colleagues know this. No matter. It’s important for politicians to bleed their hearts publicly, especially Republicans who want to be seen as “compassionate conservatives.”

Little wonder that Senator Ted Kennedy is licking his chops at the prospect and even now preparing a speech, according to Fox News, to demand immediate and universal coverage (i.e., socialized medicine) for all.

When will Republicans ever learn to stop conceding the turf to their opponents? We already have one party in favor of socialism, and we don’t need a second. Granted, the Republicans favor some policies (e.g. MSAs, tax cuts, personal retirement savings accounts) which are in opposition to socialism. But they keep speaking of other issues — such as the uninsured — as if they favored the socialist side. Their enemies sense this as weakness and inconsistency.

Republicans can express concern for the uninsured if they want; but they should make it clear that the only responsibility government has is to get out of the way so everyone may be responsible, and free, to choose health care financing for himself. This is our only hope, indeed our only alternative, to the command-and-control style policies the Ted Kennedys and Hillary Clintons of the world will never stop trying to impose upon us.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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