Last week, Drew Emmer voice his concern about the left’s ability to gin up enthusiasm for their causes. We should thank Drew for his concern. As I wrote here, I came face-to-face with one such shadowy organization. Its name is the Greater Minnesota Health Care Coalition. Here’s what they stand for:

Vision Statement

The Greater Minnesota Health Care Coalition represents the interests of all citizens in Greater Minnesota on health care and other issues of economic and social justice.

  1. We seek changes that promote the health and well-being of all citizens and correct the great economic inequalities in our society.
  2. We seek to help build a society that lives out the values of compassion, integrity, meaningful relationships, and mutual accountability.

GMHCC’s vision statement should disturb every levelheaded Minnesota voter, regardless of party affiliation. The first question sane individuals should ask is what criteria GMHCC is using in defining “the great economic inequalities in our society.” That’s an awfuly subjective phrase. It’s worth remembering what the woman who attended Monday night’s forum said:

“We don’t need health insurance. We need health care.”

Prior to saying that, she railed about how “incrementalism had ruined” our health care system. I talked with this gentle soul after the event, at which time she gave me a ‘factsheet’ titled “Single-Payer Universal Healthcare FAQ.” Here’s one of the accusations made in the factsheet:

Q: How is the current non-system organized?
The health care insurance industry’s sole reason for existence is to make a profit for its onwers, its stockholders. The best way to maximize profits is to provide as little actual health care as possible. Sell a product (health care) but deliver as little of it as possible. Isure only healthy people. Drop those who have chronic illnesses or develop catastrophic health problems. Use these profits for obscene executive salaries. Advertising. Administration. Lawyers. Clerks. Accountants. Denial experts. Stock dividends. Lobbyists. Campaign contributions. They call these expenses overhead.

Q: How much does this overhead add up to?
Up to 30 percent or more, which means that only 70 percent of every dollar spent for health insurance is available for actual health care. With a Single-Payer system, these costs could actually be used for health care. (King, have at that BS if you’d like.) The savings amount to $630 billion per year, which is way more than enough to provide comprehensive health care for the 54 million uninsured and underinsured.

Q: Well, aren’t these overhead costs just the cost of doing business?
No. Medicare’s overhead is in the 1 to 2 percent range. This means that 98 cents on the dollar goes to health care.

If you think this sounds bizarre, you’d better brace yourself because it gets worse:

Q: How would Single-Payer work?
A public agency would be created to organize health care financing, collecting money and paying the bills. Government is very good at these two tasks. The health care insurance industry would be eliminated as we know it. Insurance companies that currently intrude as a barrier between the patient & doctor. Health care costs would be controlled by a process of negotiation with drug companies, hospitals, doctors & other providers creating a system that would be reasonable & fair to all.

Government is good at these two tasks? Compared with what? Compared with which successful company?

I’d also refer back to my post from Monday’s health care forum. Here’s what a retired gentleman told the audience:

One gentleman talked about how he had to call into the state at 9:00 am on behalf of his son, who has a mental health illness. This gentleman said that sometimes the lines were all busy. Other times, he’d get through, then get put on hold for several hours.

This gentleman’s testimony destroys the credibility of the statement that “Government is very good at these two tasks.” As I said then, private companies wouldn’t have gotten away with such worthless customer service. They’d go bankrupt inside of a year if they treated their customers like that.

The government’s customer service, as a rule, is next to worthless. This isn’t questioned. It’s fact. It’s a sloppy mess. Please tell me how public employees are better employees than private sector employees.

Let’s take a step back, though. This is just one liberal advocacy group. Look at the amount of misinformation that they put out in a single ‘factsheet’. That’s what we’re fighting against. The larger point I must make is this: We can’t afford to have anyone in the conservative coalition sitting on their hands this election season.

Conservatives stayed home in large numbers in 2006. If there’s a repeat of that in 2008, radical groups will get these types of unsustainable policies enacted into law. If you think this isn’t a genuine threat, here’s another dose of misinformation on the ‘factsheet’:

Q: Wouldn’t this be socialized medicine?
No. The government wouldn’t own the health care system. Just as the government doesn’t own the health care system with Medicare. Doctors, hospitals, drug companies, etc., would all remain private and be owned as they are now. However, they would have to negotiate with the public agency for what they could charge for their products and services and, if they choose, to remain outside the system, they would be free to do so.

Here’s the definition of socialism according to

a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

Now let’s compare that definition against the American Medical Student Association’s description of the benefits of single-payer health care:

Although there are some advantages and some disadvantages to each system, universal health care confers the greatest number of advantages. They include:

  1. Every individual would receive necessary medical coverage, regardless of age, health, employment, or socio-economic status.
  2. Health care spending would decline because centralized billing procedures would reduce administrative overhead. Consequently, a larger percentage of the cost of health care would actually be spent on patient treatment.
  3. Increased access to preventive care and the ability of government to purchase prescription medications in bulk would also help drive down health care costs. However, the corresponding drop in revenue for pharmaceutical companies could lead to a reduction in overall research and development, slowing down technological advancement.
  4. Patients can choose their physician and physicians can choose the most appropriate treatment for their patients.
  5. There would be a removal of profit-motive in health care. The driving force behind the health industry would be patient care and not profit maximization.

Examine the last half of the third bulletpoint:

However, the corresponding drop in revenue for pharmaceutical companies could lead to a reduction in overall research and development, slowing down technological advancement.

Might “lead to” “a slowing down of technological advancement?” Let’s apply some truth to that statement. Here’s what happens in the real world:

The corresponding drop in revenue for pharmaceutical companies will lead to a reduction in overall research and development, slowing down technological advancement.

This isn’t debatable. It’s settled fact. It’s been documented throughout history. Wishing it weren’t so doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Let’s also admit that the fifth bulletpoint is tied directly with the third point:

There would be a removal of profit-motive in health care. The driving force behind the health industry would be patient care and not profit maximization.

When companies’ incentives for producing goods and services (profits) are dramatically reduced, their motivation for producing important goods and services drop dramatically, too. It’s one of the fundamental principles of capitalism. Let’s also ridicule American Medical Student Association’s opening statement:

Although there are some advantages and some disadvantages to each system, universal health care confers the greatest number of advantages.

What’s described in points three and five isn’t just “some disadvantage”; it’s the biggest flaw (some might say fatal flaw) of single-payer.

This shouldn’t be a partisan issue but it is. The DFL will intruduce, and seriously fight for, single-payer. Their first step is in getting a constitutional amendment added to the ballot for this November’s election making health care a right in Minnesota. Here’s the text of the Constitutional amendment:

“Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to state that every resident of Minnesota has the right to health care and that it is the responsibility of the governor and the legislature to implement all necessary legislation to ensure affordable health care?

Yes …….
No …….

There’s nothing implicit about this. It’s explicitly saying that Minnesota voters to approve this constitutional amendment and for the legislature to be legally bound to pass government-run health care.

Here’s what Sec. 3 says:

If the constitutional amendment proposed in section 1 is approved by the people at the 2008 general election, the legislature and governor must enact legislation to implement the constitutional amendment by July 1, 2012.

What the DFL is doing is attempting to legislate via constitutional amendment. Not only would this amendment make health care a right, it would mandate state run health care.

The choices are straightforward: Sit on your hands during the 2008 campaign or work hard to defeat this DFL power grab.

Frankly, that decision is a no-brainer.

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13 Responses to “The Battle We Can’t Afford to Lose”

  • Greg says:

    Since the Compassionate State of Minnesota is providing your healthcare, it is only fair and in the public interest that your behavior conform to established healthy norms: No tobacco, alcohol, transfat consumption or other “risky” behaviors, as we may define them in the future. You are restricted to one fast food meal per week.

    If your genetic code suggests a propensity to certain disorders, your freedom to reproduce will be restricted to a single offspring. This unfortunate restriction is designed to improve the overall gene pool and will benefit society by reducing future health care costs. Your committment to future generations is expected and appreciated.

    Finally, required calisthenics for your neighborhood begin at 6:00 a.m., comrade. Participation will be reported monthly to the Director or Compassion in Health Care Services.

    Thanks to our vision and committment to you, you will be happier and healthier and live a longer and more beautiful life in the great republic of the people in Minnesota.

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