When it comes to the good life, we Americans want it all. We want to age gracefully and painlessly, yet we want to live like there’s no tomorrow. Many of us want top-notch government services, but we demand low taxes. No wonder our health care system — let alone our federal and state budgets — is in a state of disarray.


 

When it comes to the good life, we Americans want it all.


We want to age gracefully and painlessly, yet we want to live like there’s no tomorrow. Many of us want top-notch government services, but we demand low taxes.


No wonder our health care system — let alone our federal and state budgets — is in a state of disarray. Proposed legislation to reform health care has caused much misinformation and heated debate. Federal lawmakers have faced confused and angry crowds who are anxious about what overhauling the system will mean to them — as well as our nation’s financial future.


It’s time to dispel a few myths about what’s planned for health care. First of all, we must understand that there are at least five proposals being considered in Congress.


Contrary to what former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has written, there are no planned “death panels” to coerce people into abandoning proper care just to save the government money. U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Hinsdale, admitted that a flier her staffers gave to people at a recent forum included language that was “a little inflammatory” in this regard. However, any reforms that result in rationing of care are clearly not desirable.


A public option may force private insurers to curtail expenses, but a government-run plan isn’t likely to produce cost efficiency. Like many other government programs, health care would become a bloated bureaucracy with its own massive cost increases. Proponents should stop touting a government plan as a competitive force that will drive down costs.


U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Western Springs made a good point about the health care debate in a recent visit to our office. He is concerned that the emphasis has shifted from “health care reform” to “health insurance reform,” leaving people with the impression that insurance companies are the only entities needing an overhaul.


Yes, insurance regulations must be changed to help bring down costs. But what’s equally important is the need to pair health care reform with tort reform, which would bring down the cost of malpractice insurance. At the same time, medical providers need to streamline their operations to tame their rising costs.


We need a reasoned debate, but there’s no hurry to get something passed now. This is not an emergency or crisis. It may become one if any reforms are not prudent.


Suburban Life Publications