Gross Congressional Negligence
corporate executives commit fraud and negligence against their customers
and employees, they get fired or go to jail. Every year that members of
Congress delay in restructuring the Medicare and Medicaid programs to
avoid facing a coming economic disaster, they are committing gross
negligence against the citizens of the United States. Unfortunately,
many of them get re-elected. In 2004, 99 percent of House incumbents
were reelected, as were 96 percent of their colleagues in the Senate.
For over 40
years Congress has attempted to socialize health care delivery through
excessive and inefficient spending on entitlement programs, and by
imposing costly regulations on health care providers. Now state
legislatures want to get into the act, by requiring private employers to
pay a percentage of their employees’ health care costs.
of the government-imposed drift toward socialized medicine are well
government has failed to control the costs of the Medicare and Medicaid
entitlement programs, causing the programs to consume a higher
percentage of required federal spending each year. Incredibly, our
government is adding new costs to the programs, such as the poorly
structured prescription drug plan. The plan’s original projected cost
was $395 billion over the first 10 years. In less than a year, the new
projected cost of the drug plan now approaches $1 trillion over the
first ten years.
Heritage Foundation projects that if Congress does not change these
programs structurally, the current 2.9 percent payroll Medicare tax will
have to be as high as 13.4 percent to pay promised benefits. That’s more
than four times what we’re paying today! The Centers for Medicare and
Medicaid Services project that total health care spending will reach an
unsustainable 20 percent of the economy by 2015.
negative effect of government intervention in health care delivery is
that many consumers have little or no incentive to practice preventive
health care. Until they are sick, too many people neglect their health.
There is less motivation to eat healthy foods, exercise regularly and
avoid drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse when the government promises to
pay to cure self-induced afflictions. Couple the lessened incentive to
live healthy lifestyles with the ease of filing baseless medical
malpractice and product liability lawsuits, and there should be little
surprise why our health care system is abused every day.
job description of a member of Congress is to represent the best
interests of the country and his or her constituents, the public is
partly to blame for the dysfunction and escalating costs in our health
care systems. Too many people fall for the political rhetoric from
politicians of all ideological stripes that promises a long-term benefit
for seemingly little individual cost. Too many of us continue to elect
candidates who claim to be fiscal conservatives but lack the backbone to
fix the problems once they arrive in Washington, D.C. Congress does not
merely think we are stupid. Collectively, they know we are stupid enough
to tolerate their gross negligence for so long.
solutions to stemming the runaway costs, burdensome regulations and lack
of individual choice in our health care system are also well documented.
must convert from a system designed in the 1960s based on that era’s
economy and demographics to a consumer driven health care, Medicare and
Medicaid system that recognizes the rapidly changing dynamics and
demographics of the 21st century economy.
must establish competition in the health care delivery systems, which
will provide more efficient and inexpensive services for all consumers.
We can achieve greater competition by removing the government and
insurance companies as middlemen in health care decisions, allowing
doctors and patients to make the choices best suited for the individual.
must change from a system of defined benefits to a system of defined
contributions. Corporations can no longer afford the costs associated
with defined-benefit health-care plans, and the nation can no longer
afford the never-ending costs associated with defined benefit
solution is to put control of health care costs back in the hands of
individual consumers and remove the barriers to greater competition.
Consumers will have more incentive to control their health and health
care dollars, and health care providers will have to deal with less
Although I strongly believe we should scrap the entire income tax
code and replace it with a national consumption tax, until that time,
individuals should be allowed the same insurance premium deductions
employers enjoy. Allowing individuals to deduct the cost of their
insurance premiums, and contribute to their health savings account with
pre-tax dollars, will expand consumer choice and stimulate competition.
The result will be lower health care costs for everyone.
care and Social Security entitlement programs that comprise the majority
of government spending are antiquated and broken, just like the static
assumptions on which they were based. Worse yet, our government has
created entitlement-demand in far too many citizens, and far too many
politicians are willing to meet their demands in exchange for
nation’s economic infrastructure is being destroyed by congressional
negligence. The public must not continue to be negligent in demanding
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