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In order to fix the health care problem, one must first identify the cause. Dealing with the symptoms will not make any difference in the long run. The causes are thus:
Unless these issues are addressed, no amount of forced participation or tax increases or public option will relieve the pain.
- Americans are unhealthy. Human beings have existed in good health for eons on this planet. Only in the last century has there been an avalanche of degenerative disease. For example, cancer rates were 1 in 50 in 1910 but have swollen to 1 in 3 today. Only a dramatic change in lifestyle can alter this.
- The principle of insurance was never intended to pay for everyday occurrences. Insurance is for the highly improbable. What we have today is actually a prepaid plan, which drives up the cost of insurance astronomically.
- A major cause of high medical cost is the regulatory control of the health care industry by the government. This occurs in the form of the high cost of getting new medical products to market by requiring FDA approval, and also by driving out alternative approaches that are more effective, less costly, have fewer side effects, and are more likely to prevent future recurrences.
- The monetary policy of Keynesian economics and fiat currency naturally causes inflation, which hurts everyone, but especially those on fixed incomes or who have sporadic employment.
What Americans spend on health care is now approaching 20% (roughly double that of most other western countries) of the Gross National Product. Americans have access to the most technologically advanced medicine in the world, yet our health is not better, In fact is is worse than many industrialized nations who spend much less than we do when rates of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and drug addiction are compared. Health care was a feature of my campaign for congress in 1994. At that time, our spending on health care was 14% of GNP. I predicted then that if nothing were done, the result would be more Americans with no access to health care. That has come to pass.
This is a tremendous drain on the economy which will only be intensified if the cost is merely shifted to government, which must pay for it either by increasing the deficit (borrowing money), or by increasing taxes. Either way, the result is a loss of real wealth. Many alternative approaches have proven effective, economical, and with less side effects than conventional medicine. Moreover, they are more likely to prevent a recurrence, and prevention is the most economical of all health care approaches. Government should insure a free, competitive market place where all Americans have access to the the health care of their choice, whether it be conventional or alternative, thus allowing millions of people to take control of their own health with real prevention and cost effective solutions. Without strong steps toward real choice and prevention, health care costs could eventually will play a major role in triggering an economic disaster.
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