Friday, February 12, 2010

If this is freedom, give us less


The Idaho House of Representatives landed a blow for "freedom" this week when it decided to fight the mere shadow of federal health care reform that may some day require families, individuals and businesses to purchase health insurance or face penalties.

The House voted along party lines to approve the facetiously titled Idaho Health Freedom Act that would require the state to sue the federal government if it requires Idaho citizens to buy health insurance.

The thinking of the Republican majority on the act came through loud and clear in debate on the House floor: The federal government is bad and shouldn't tell citizens what to do. Individuals and businesses are good and wise. Therefore, the job of Idaho lawmakers is to fight the federal government on health reform.

Idaho citizens and businesses may be surprised at the kinds of "freedom" their representatives seem hell-bent on preserving for them.

The act would preserve the freedom of one of the largest private industries in the country to bloat profits by raising health insurance premiums unimpeded.

It would preserve the freedom of irresponsible individuals and businesses to throw the costs of health care for themselves, their children or their employees onto the backs of taxpayers and those who carry health insurance.

It would preserve the freedom of the nation's largest corporations to buy Cadillac health policies cheap while small businesses with no bargaining power pay high premiums for rust-bucket policies.

It would preserve the freedom of individuals to be charged the highest health insurance premiums of all.

It would preserve the freedom of patients to be denied treatment by actuaries with no medical training.

It would preserve the freedom of the health care industry to prioritize treatment over prevention.

It would preserve the freedom of hospitals and doctors to fail to design outcome-based treatment plans that protect both the patient's health and the health of their pocketbooks.

It would preserve the freedom to continue the standoff between health care providers and insurers about who is responsible for dealing with high costs.

It would preserve the freedom of families to be forced into bankruptcy in the face of catastrophic health care costs.

It would preserve the freedom of the Idaho Legislature to force Idaho taxpayers to foot a huge bill to sue the federal government over health care reform in the middle of the worst economy in living memory.

If this is freedom, give us less.




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