Sunday, April 1, 2012

Principle Based Decision Making in Representative Government #2 - Health Care

The Federal Government has no constitutional jurisdiction in mandating, providing, subsidizing or restricting health care. States and communities (including faith-based and charitable groups) have the right if they wish to assist individuals and families with the cost and provision of health care and/or emergency services. Medicare should be phased out or transitioned into a state sponsored and funded system. The Federal Government does have (under the interstate commerce provisions) the responsibility to see that national or multi-state insurance companies do not engage in deceptive or discriminatory practices. They can also regulate the safety of chemicals (drugs) and medical devices sold on a national or multi-state basis.

As they determine what their level of involvement in health care should be, states and communities should keep the following principles in mind.

1. People have a variety of preferences as to what kind of health care they desire. Some are holistic, some prefer chiropractic, some use energy, light or aroma therapies, some use ceremonies or faith/priesthood healing. None of these are fully covered by insurance companies. Individuals have a right to choose what type of health care they get and should not have mandates that force them to pay, not only for their own care but for health care they do not agree with and won't use. Mandates are an abuse of governmental power, no matter what level of government tries to use them.

2. Availability of a medical procedure, device or chemical (drug) does not mean that everyone has a right to have it, even if they need it.

3. Health is a personal responsibility. To a great extent, individuals determine their health by their decisions on diet, exercise and types of activities.

4. Assistance to those who have injuries or disabilities not caused by their own actions are a special case. While it is not the responsibility of the federal government to address these, communities and states can and should marshall public resources to assist those in such need to the extent possible.

5. States and communities can provide with the consent and financial support of the members of those communities whatever level of support they determine to people who can not afford the care they need or want.

6. Foods and naturally grown (unrefined or unaltered) plants including medicinal or any other herbs should not be regulated or outlawed. These items, when sold outside their state of origin, can be monitored and any claims made as to their effects or effectiveness verified or disputed by the federal government under interstate commerce regulation. Any actions taken in case of fraud or false claims should be directed at the sellers of these items, not at removing them from availability.

7. Aging and death are natural processes of the human condition. Just because we can intervene and delay death or minimize the effects of aging does not automatically mean that the public should pay for doing so.

8. The reason that people are hoping the government (taxpayers) will pay for their health care is the incredible rise in the cost of that care over the last 70 years. The staggering increases in the cost of health care have been created by three things: a) extreme court and insurance settlements that create high insurance premiums for doctors, hospitals, drug companies and other health care entities, b) the high cost of educating and preparing doctors and specialists which in turn leads them to charge ever higher prices for their services, and c) unnecessary proceedures which are often required by insurance companies to avoid frivolous lawsuits rather than because they are actually needed by the patient. These issues will be addressed in another paper.

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