Sep 182007
 
Authors: Nick Hemenway

We all knew it was coming.

Ever since Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy, everyone has been waiting to hear about her infamous healthcare program. On Monday, Hillary finally unveiled her vision for a new universal healthcare system.

However, just as it was during her first attempt to reform healthcare during her husband’s time in office, this proposal is just simply a bad idea.

As a conservative, the first thing that caught my attention was the cost of the program to the American taxpayer. In this version, Hillary wants $110 billion from us every year!

And what will this huge price tag give us? A bigger government that gets to control more of our lives.

What universal health care does is take away the freedom of an individual to choose how to spend their money.

Under the individual mandate portion of Hillary’s plan, every American must buy and keep insurance, even if they don’t want or need it.

Predictably, the remaining cost of the program will be funded by taxes that Clinton wants to impose on wealthy Americans. But hey, why do they need all their money?

To support her cause, Sen. Clinton alluded to the estimated 47 million Americans without health insurance. This figure conveniently does not take into account the number of people enrolled in Medicaid, which is essentially the same thing as health insurance.

But Hillary isn’t the only one pushing for a universal health care system.

Both John Edwards and Barack Obama have outlined their own plans, which are similarly funded by increasing taxes.

Any way you put it, creating a one-size-fits-all healthcare system is the wrong way to go. Every American is different, and everyone should have the right to choose for themselves how they get their healthcare.

That is not to say that our current system is anything close to optimal.

Riddled with red tape and baseless bureaucratic regulation, our healthcare system has many areas for improvement that could lead to lower health care costs.

One of these areas is the exchange of information, whether between scientists and doctors or between patients and healthcare providers. Formally digitizing healthcare could dramatically increase the system’s efficiency.

Another way to lower costs would be to streamline the process of getting newly developed drugs from the laboratory into patients’ hands. It takes far too long for cutting-edge science to materialize into tangible solutions.

Finally, we must rely on the free-market. By creating competition in healthcare (and not limiting it under a universal government healthcare provider), quality will inevitably increase while costs fall.

There was one excerpt from Hillary’s website that made me laugh.

While making her case for her healthcare system, Clinton claims that she “has the strength and experience to ensure that every man, woman and child in America has quality, affordable health care.”

The last time Hillary tried to get us to buy into universal healthcare in 1993, it resulted in a 54-seat swing in the House of Representatives in favor of Republicans in the 1994 elections.

Maybe I should be happy she is trying again.

Nick Hemenway is a senior mechanical engineering major. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com

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