Politician advocates nationalizing industry. Private companies resist. Politician terms private companies villains.
So goes the health care battle. Unfortunately, many Americans apparently share this assessment.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared last week that health insurance companies are “villains,” and 25% of U.S. voters agree with her.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 37% disagree with the speaker and don’t believe health insurers are “villains.” Virtually the same number (38%), however, are not sure, a finding which should give insurers pause as the health care reform debate intensifies.
Many of us have had frustrating experiences with health insurance companies, but they are as they are largely because of government policy. States and the federal government mandate coverage for a multitude of products and services; the tax system pushes people to treat insurance like pre-paid medical expenses rather than real insurance. The rise of third party payment, driven by government, separates patient from payer, with the former wanting everything covered to the max, while the latter has an incentive to pay for as little as possible. Congress has promoted cost shifting by imposing price controls through Medicare and Medicaid and mandating treatment even of those in America illegally.
In short, the villains are the politicians who have created such a messed up system to begin with. The answer, then, is to treat the politicians like the villains they are and push them out of the picture. Certainly villainous politicians should not be given more power over Americans’ health care.