The Washington Times - May 12, 2009, 11:22AM


So, President Barack Obama and administration surrogates are making the media rounds to tout health care reform this week repeating buzz words that sound like what we all want to hear, but at closer examination are anything but. “Protecting the uninsured and underinsured,” “building on the current system,” are just some of the administration’s talking points. So is re-directing their answer to the question of just how it will all be paid for.

On one thing the administration and congressional Republicans agree - let those who are satisfied with their current coverage keep it. That’s where the similarities end and the differences begin. Democrats are pushing mandates. Republicans insist on choice. Choice. It’s usually a term you hear coming from the liberal side of the aisle. But it seems this time there is no “choice” in just who pays for this massive government takeover - the taxpayer - whether you “choose” to use the system or not. And while we can all agree that the health care system needs fixing, more government mandates should never be a starting point for reform. As President Ronald Reagan famously quipped “government doesn’t solve problems, government is the problem.”

Cost-cutting solutions that pinpoint fraud, encourage and even reward affordability and accessibility while keeping the patient in the driver’s seat, should be the starting point that dominates the decision-making process. The issue isn’t whether we care for the least of these, the poor, young and elderly, we already do that with Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP - programs notoriously fraught with fraud at the expense of quality care. The government has yet to get a handle on managing the systematic inefficiencies with those programs. So why should taxpayers - 85 million of whom have coverage - foot yet another massive government controlled program that covers roughly 12 percent of Americans who, for one reason or another, don’t?

There’s gotta be a better way. One that does not insist on “sharing” the burden, won’t put small businesses out of business just to comply or penalize taxpayers for making the choice to have more choice in their own health care options. And one that also considers going after the medical and drub companies who seem to be driving up health care costs every chance they get.

I’m no genius but someone’s got this whole thing bass ackwards.

-Tara Wall is a senior editor at The Washington Times and editor of