Idealism Vs. Realism

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Editor

Debate on health care continues with many opinions and arguments; all of which have some merit. Ideally every U.S. citizen or legal resident is entitled to receive the health care they need to “pursue happiness.”

Many industrialized nations throughout the world have nationalized health care for this very idealistic reason. It makes no difference if health care is forced on us by requiring us to purchase health insurance, or is provided to us by the government and paid for through taxes; our freedom of choice has been taken away. Taking away that freedom, with the argument that it is best for society in general, is a socialistic policy.

Arizona as with many states provides government paid health care through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) program (http://www .azahcccs.gov/). This system functions much the same as a national health care system would function.

Medicare is also a nationalized health care system where payments to health care providers are determined by this government agency. With Medicare, as with many other countries that have nationalized health care, participants have the option to purchase additional insurance to provide better benefits.

A provision of the currently proposed health care bill includes a fine on those who do not purchase health care insurance. So now the question becomes, “What will be the method of enforcement for those who refuse to purchase insurance?” The sequence of events could go something like:

Impose the fine, but the person refuses to pay.

Create a new government agency to enforce payment (costing more money) through garnishment of wages; however, the person is self-employed so another method will be necessary.

File criminal charges against the person and put them in jail (costing more money), and taking away the person’s earning power, which will now require this person’s family to go on AHCCCS.

Does this scenario sound ridiculous? The reality of the situation is that nothing will be done to those who refuse to purchase health insurance. The result will be that in the long run the only thing that will change is an increase in government’s intervention into the free enterprise system.

Are improvements needed, absolutely, but the way to make these improvements is one step at a time in a methodical manner. Comprehensive reform will have too many exceptions to be manageable or enforceable.

Richard A. Meyer, Jr.

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