On Health Care: OC Register Supports Union Control?

Well, I doubt it but that seems to be the premise of their Sunday [editorial] .

America is rushing to a pivotal decision that could dictate the nature of health care for decades to come. Escalating costs, rising consumer demand, coupled with employers reducing benefits, are creating widespread unease.

These and related converging factors guarantee change is coming. The question is whether Americans will succumb to the lure of government as rescuer, or will individuals and private organizations assume more responsibility for coverage, treatment and care.

At stake is whether this nation will opt for something resembling European-style socialized medicine, with its unaccountable bureaucrats making decisions about whom can be treated, as well as what type of treatment, when it will be provided, where and how much. Those socialized systems, touted as “free” and “universal,” ultimately can’t keep up with demand when the public insists on receiving every type of care. Eventually, it results in shortages and rationing.

There are so many flaws in their argument; it’s difficult to know where to begin.  However, the second paragraph seems to be a good place to start. The Register asks if individuals and private organizations will assume more responsibility for coverage, treatment and care as opposed to succumbing to government rescue.

I cannot figure out what private organizations the Register is referring to.  If they are talking about Unions, besides the irony of the anti-union register suggesting it, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics [report] 13.1% of employed workers in the United States were represented by unions in 2006.  What the Register is suggesting is that Health Care become the responsibility of labor unions for 13.1% of the works force and the remainder of Americans either rely on an ever decreasing level of employer based coverage for non-represented workers or they can by it all on their own.

The U.S. Census Bureau [reports] that in 2005, 84.1% of Americans had health insurance coverage and 15.9% (46,577,000) had no coverage at all. Of those covered 67.7% were covered through private insurance, broken out that is 59.5% with employer based coverage and 9.1% individually purchased. These statistics do not reflect the type of health care covered individuals had.  It is likely that a significant number of those individually purchasing health coverage only have catastrophic coverage.

In the third paragraph of their editorial, the Register opines “At stake is whether this nation will opt for something resembling European-style socialized medicine, with its unaccountable bureaucrats making decisions about whom can be treated, as well as what type of treatment, when it will be provided, where and how much.”  I don’t know about the rest of you but that sounds a lot like the system we already have with managed care. The only difference would be that a government run system would be more efficient, have less administrative costs and would not be profit driven, resulting in more money going towards providing needed health care as opposed to lining the pockets of over paid CEO’s.

The Register suggests later in their editorial that permitting the agreement between the United Auto Workers and General Motors to shift the responsibility for management of their members health care coverage is a step closer to the private parties who receive it is the solution to the national problem of health care.  It is not.  Shifting the management of benefits to those receiving does not address the ever increasing costs of providing health care coverage and will result eventually in the reduction of that coverage over time.

Their so called solution also does not address the coverage needed for the 47.5 million Americans without any health coverage and the impact that has on the overall costs of providing health care.

The Register closes its editorial:

The first step to curb prices is to make the people receiving the benefit more directly responsible for paying for it , whether that be through individually owned health insurance, health savings accounts or simply savings. Personal responsibility may be coming to the fore. It’s none too soon.

Sorry guys, collective responsibility for the health care is not the abdication of personal responsibility. With nationwide universal health care coverage the collective of individuals and employers share personal responsibility and pool their resources to ensure that everyone has health care coverage, thereby reducing the costs for everyone.

  1 comment for “On Health Care: OC Register Supports Union Control?

  1. james
    September 30, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    “unaccountable bureaucrats making decisions about whom can be treated, as well as what type of treatment, when it will be provided, where and how much.” That is more apt as a description of our private health insurance companies. The Europeans and the Canadians are healthier and less infuriated by their health care than we are.

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