The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Letter to the Editor

In Charanya Krishnaswami’s defense of the Democratic health reform plan on Tuesday, she reiterates some common fallacious arguments that are misinformed, misrepresent the opposition, and frame the debate in a rather elementary fashion.

Krishnaswami seems to believe that the “public option” will bring honest competition to the health insurance market. This could not be further from the truth. The proposed plan has the very real potential of crowding out private insurance; and by force, not by providing more competitive rates.

In the latest Pelosi bill, an employer mandate will require small business owners to provide coverage for their employees or face an 8 percent payroll tax. Many economists have predicted that small business owners will drop their employees onto the “public option” since the 8 percent payroll tax will most likely be cheaper than the cost of providing private insurance.

Private insurers will also be subject to new regulations that control the price of premiums and require insurers to provide an “essential” level of coverage and benefits. This would be like Apple forcing Dell to put more expensive hardware in their computers and charge less to sell them. Dell would most certainly shut down as that level of production would be unsustainable. In short, the Pelosi bill is to competition as Yasser Arafat was to world peace – the relationship only seems harmonious if you’re liberal.

Then Krishnaswami goes on to imply that opponents prefer the “status quo” where rape victims are denied care on the basis of “pre-existing conditions.” All emotionally ridden anecdotal arguments aside, the notion that opponents prefer the “status quo” is elementary thinking to say the least. Everyone, for the most part, agrees that our current health care system can be improved and that reform is needed in certain areas. No one wants to see anyone get turned away for “pre-existing conditions” or get denied care because they can’t afford insurance.

But, if opponents are guilty of defending the “status quo,” so is President Obama. President Obama has said that the goal of the “public option” is to provide “a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep the insurance companies honest.” Everyone agrees that these principles are desirable, but it is ironic that President Obama has spent his entire political career voting against every effort to make the health insurance market more open and accessible.

While serving in the Senate, President Obama voted against allowing tax deductions for health care costs, against allowing competition across state lines, against allowing the use of tax-free Health Savings Accounts to pay for health insurance coverage, against requiring undocumented immigrants to own health insurance, and against other reform efforts that would have increased competition, decreased costs, expanded coverage, or some combination of the three.

Another issue with Krishnaswami’s logic is the assumption that having no insurance implies that no health care is provided. This is, of course, false. For example, just a few miles away, Parkland Memorial Hospital provides millions of dollars of health care services to thousands and thousands of uninsured undocumented immigrants every year. Parkland has even sent an invoice to Mexico without expecting to actually be paid.

Krishnaswami also cites the number of uninsured to be around 46 million, which has been broken down numerous times and exposed as the scare tactic that it is. For example, 17.6 million uninsured earn more than $50,000 and can easily afford private insurance. 9.7 million are undocumented immigrants or non-U.S. citizens and should not be covered by the American taxpayer anyway. 14 million qualify for Medicaid or other government programs that already exist. That leaves around 5 million out of 307 million that are truly uninsured and can’t afford insurance.

Lastly, health care is not a human right as Krishnaswami claims, but a commodity just like food, water, or shelter. However, health care is arguably already treated as a positive right in America as more than half of Americans receive “free” health care from government programs like Medicare and Medicaid at the expense of the American taxpayer of both today and, as debt continues to accumulate over time, tomorrow.

-Jesse Fornear

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