Independence Day – LTE Jun. ’10

In just a couple of weeks we will celebrate July 4th. Sadly many youngsters and even some adults do not know why July 4th is a holiday. Over the years I have asked many kids and some young adults why it is a holiday and about half do not know the answer.

In all of history, there are few events as important and consequential as the Declaration of Independence and the founding of the United States of America. Every citizen should know that we celebrate July 4th as our nation’s birthday and that July 4, 1776, was the day when the Continental Congress approved the wording of the Declaration of Independence.

I hope that all parents will teach their children the meaning of July 4th. It wouldn’t hurt for all of us to reread the preamble, which declares that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It continues by stating that the purpose of governments is to protect our natural rights and that when government “becomes destructive” of these rights, that the people have the right to “alter or to abolish” the government.

These words have become an inspiration to people around the world. Abraham Lincoln later borrowed the phrase “all men are created equal” for his Gettysburg Address. I wonder how many of today’s young people know that Thomas Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration, that he became our third President, and that he is honored with his face on the $5 bill?

Health insurance utopia – LTE Mar. ’10

Mr. Karr (March 9) presents a utopian vision of health insurance reform and wonders why anyone would oppose it. Well, I have a few questions for Mr. Karr: If your plan is so good, then why does it have to force people to join it? If it solves all the world’s problems as you seem to think, then wouldn’t people voluntarily flock to it? Why do you want to impose fines and possible jail terms on people who choose not to participate in your plan?

I think that my current plan is better for me. Why do you want to force me to switch to your plan? You might respond that “if you like your plan, you can keep it.” It’s very generous of you to allow me to keep my plan, but that’s just not true. Some 10 million people have chosen HSA plans instead of traditional insurance because they get better care at a lower price. But both the House and Senate bills make HSA plans illegal (non-qualified). So, millions of people who prefer HSA plans will be forced to switch to the plan that you prefer. What gives Congress the right to interfere in my choice of health care?

Now, I know that the politicians in Washington are much smarter than I, they surely know what’s better for me than I do, and I should be grateful that they are deigning to look after my health, but you know what: I prefer to take care of myself. I pay all the costs of my health care and I get care that is entirely satisfactory to me. Under your plan, I would qualify for subsidized health care. Why do you want to pay for some of my health care? How will that lower anybody else’s health care costs? And do you seriously think that your plan will keep costs down overall? Government programs always cost much more than forecast.

Instead of a one-size-fits-all plan let’s have freedom of choice. Get rid of all the fines, taxes, mandates, and restrictions. For those who want the government in charge of their health care, let them have such a plan, but make it voluntary. The majority (according to all polls) who are against the proposed reform should be free to choose whatever plan we think is better for us. Let those who participate in the government plan pay all of its costs; don’t ask the rest of us to pay for their costs. In turn, we won’t ask those in the government plan to pay any of our costs.

Give individuals the same tax break for health care that businesses get. Then we can buy insurance that is not tied to our jobs. Give us the freedom to choose to buy across state lines from whatever company we prefer. Let each of us decide whether we want coverage for maternity or for alcoholism or substance abuse. I’m not going to become pregnant; I don’t drink; I don’t do drugs. Why should I be forced to buy coverage I will never use? Let each of us decide whether we want high deductible low cost plans or low deductible high cost plans. I’ll let you have your choice of health insurance plans. Why won’t you let me have my choice of plans?