The right kind of health care reform

24 Aug

AUGUST 24, 2009 — I used to marvel at how the U.S. Post Office could move a letter from Miami, Florida, to Fairbanks, Alaska — more than 5,000 miles — for only 44 cents! After doing a little research, I wondered no longer. The post office can’t even move my utility payment half a mile down the street for the price of a stamp.

Most analysts estimate that the USPS will spend $7 billion more than it takes in this fiscal year. As a result, the government monopoly has floated the idea of a five-day delivery cycle, a move that would require Congressional approval. Although the Postal Service receives no tax dollars for its operations, it’s still mandated to provide mail service to everyone in America, and Congress maintains oversight.

Similarly, most government-run programs are running massive deficits. The Government Accountability Office estimated that by 2027, the combined costs of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and net deficit interest will eat up all federal revenue. Furthermore, Amtrak would cease to exist without government subsidies. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Disasters.

Without getting into the minute details of ObamaCare, it’s sufficient to say that the government doesn’t have a good track record of running its programs. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the new health care reform bill introduced by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) will cost $880 billion over 10 years. That alone is enough put the brakes on yet another disastrous government boondoggle.

President George W. Bush added $2.5 trillion to the public debt over his eight years. President Barrack Obama has more than doubled that in less than three months — and the meter keeps running.

However, I’m encouraged by prelates like Sioux City Bishop R. Walter Nickless who wrote that “no health care reform is better than the wrong sort of health care reform.” He joins a chorus of bishops across the country who are calling for principled reform that will reduce wasted spending, increase access and help those most in need.

“The Church will not accept any legislation that mandates coverage, public or private, for abortion, euthanasia or embryonic stem-cell research,” Bishop Nickless writes. “We refuse to be made complicit in these evils, which frankly contradict what ‘health care’ should mean.”

As legislation begins to move through Congress, we must make our voices heard. Tea Parties and massive rallies have drawn national headlines, but we also have to make sure our congressmen know that health care reform has to respect all human life, include guarantees that it won’t add to our already crippling deficit, and that conscience rights are protected for health care workers who object to controversial procedures.

Massive government spending is not the answer to health care reform, nor is it the answer to the recession. Let’s work hard and pray for a solution that respects life and the private sector.

Patrick Novecosky is the editor of The Praetorium and Legatus Magazine. This editorial appeared in the October 2009 issue of Legatus Magazine.

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