Representative Ron Maurer: Health Care Politics

State Representative Ron Maurer,

It is sad to see the devolution of the health reform debate into an unwillingness to deal in facts. The uber-liberal believes that to win an argument all you need to do is say your message loud enough and long enough and it will become truth. Couple this tactic with, “the Left’s almost puritanical obsession with universal coverage”, as described by Robert Moffit in the spring 2008 Harvard Health Policy Review, and you have a recipe for a great national non-debate to a pre-determined outcome.

The great national non-debate: Health reform.
The pre-determined outcome: Single payer system.
The invented enemy: Insurance companies.
The message: Insurance companies operate monopolies with no competition.

Case in point: The political advocacy organization “Health Care for America Now” or HCAN cannot admit that Oregon’s health insurance market is competitive. HCAN, a Who’s Who list of ultra liberal politicos, is a 501(c)4 issue advocacy organization that is a front for big labor and democratic party activists. The steering committee includes, ACORN, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, AFT [American Federation of Teachers], Americans United for Change, Campaign for America’s Future, Center for American Progress Action Fund, Campaign for Community Change, Children’s Defense Fund Action Council, Communications Workers of America, International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW),, NAACP, National Council of La Raza, National Education Association, National Women’s Law Center, SEIU, UFCW, USAction, and Working America.

A major claim made by these liberals in the relentless pursuit of socializing our healthcare system through the “single payer system” is the rant that we need competition in the insurance industry and that the only way to get competition is through a public option plan run by the government. There lack of ability or desire to deal in truth is no more obvious than in the publishing of a document posted on their website

HCAN’s report for Oregon flies in the face of facts. Not my facts but facts of the State of Oregon Insurance Division which is part of the Department of Business and Consumer Services (DCBS). The title of HCAN’s Oregon paper is, “Oregon Consumers Pay the Price For Health-Insurance Market Failure”. The fact is that DCBS, the government regulators of commercial insurance in Oregon, summarize the Oregon health insurance market by stating, “The health insurance market in Oregon is competitive and purchasers have choices”. Straight forward enough for most people but I guess HCAN can’t accept the possibility that Oregon has a competitive health insurance market. The HCAN report focuses on one small geographic region of Oregon, (Medford) in an attempt to make the case that all of Oregon’s market lacks competition. In that effort, HCAN fails miserably to establish a creditable argument that Oregon’s insurance market is non-competitive.

Oddly enough, HCAN unwittingly makes an argument that we should limit the role of big government healthcare let alone expand it. HCAN’s Oregon report states the following, “If one company holds more than a 42 percent share of a market the U.S. Justice Department would consider that market ‘highly concentrated’.” I read this as saying that a “highly concentrated” market is controlled by a monopoly and therefore noncompetitive. At one Medford hospital, Rogue Valley Medical Center, the government accounts for over 55% of accounts receivable. If the U.S. Justice Department’s threshold of 42% is acceptable then the Medford market is noncompetitive and we need competition against big government and not the reverse.

The point of this story is not that HCAN can’t face facts or accept that not every state in the U.S. is the same but that the end state for liberals is predetermined and in this case it is a single payer health system where big brother makes your health decisions. Their goal is completely opposed to everything I believe in. They want control over your life, your money and your free will. They believe that they know best for you. They believe that your money is their money. They believe that you are helpless without their help.

My view is much more positive about people. I believe that people have the ability to make rational decisions. That people enjoy their freedom more than they do any pretend security big brother offers.

If we are going to have a true national debate about health reform then we need to have an open and honest debate not a pre-determined outcome dominated by those who can intimidate the most. I will never accept that our healthcare salvation comes with governmental control. The road we are on now is clearly a road to nowhere filled with broken promises and broken lives. I, along with others, offer solutions that not only improve health outcomes but have real possibilities of lowering costs and lowering costs is the first step to ensure more Americans have access to healthcare.