Libertarian National Committee Chairman William Redpath issued the following statement Tuesday in response to President Obama's address to the American Medical Association:
"There is no question our health care system is broken and in need of serious reform. Americans deserve health care that is affordable, effective and universally available. However, President Obama’s $1 trillion government takeover of hospitals and doctor’s offices is not the answer.
The Obama plan makes health care more expensive, less effective and less accessible through rationing and bureaucratic inefficiency. The fact is government-run health care systems are more expensive and less effective than systems run by doctors and health care professionals.
When President Obama told the story of Laura Klitzka, a Wisconsin mother suffering from breast cancer, he conveniently neglected to tell the audience that in nations with a government-run health care system much like the one he proposes, breast cancer is deadlier than in the United States.
According to health care policy expert Dr. John Goodman, among women diagnosed with breast cancer, like Laura, only one in five die in the United States. That death rate escalates to one in three in France and Germany and nearly half in the Britain and New Zealand. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, in 2004 the deaths from cancer in the United States were 157.8 per 100,000 people. In Canada the rate was 169.0 and in the United Kingdom it was 175.6. Allowing more women to die from breast cancer is hardly the kind of reform we need in the United States.
The main causes of those increased deaths are the long waiting lists for treatment, the decreased amount of time a doctor can spend with the patient and the shortages of advanced medical equipment that are a hallmark of rationing – the method by which government-run systems attempt to cut skyrocketing costs.
The White House brushed on that topic in an April 19 appearance on “Meet The Press” in which economic advisor Lawrence Summers promised a government-run health care would cut costs by simply denying treatments and procedures to patients until the government decided it was acceptable.
President Obama once again touched on the promise of rationed health care in yesterday’s speech, blaming the rising costs of medical care not on government interference, but on the claim that Americans get too many medical tests and procedures.
For too many breast cancer patients in nations like Britain and France, the Obama model of government control and rationing has already a deadly failure. Doctors, not politicians and government accountants, should decide what tests a patient needs.
We need health care reform and we need it now. But the Obama plan – a federal government takeover – isn’t reform. It’s simply a plan to take the worst aspects of our current problems, namely the high costs and increasingly limited access, and magnify them. The Obama plan for a federal takeover of the health care system cuts costs, not through innovation or improved care, but by rationing access, putting the sick and suffering on waiting lists and denying Americans the medical care they need.
Libertarians have a better idea. Cut the costs of prescription drugs, insurance and technology by removing barriers put up by health care lobbyists in the form of protectionist laws and unneeded FDA regulations intended to price out the competition and block competing drugs and technologies from the market.
It is no coincidence that America’s health care system, once the best in the world, has become more unaffordable and ineffective as government has seeped further and further into it. The only way to make health care affordable, effective and universally available as the many other services we enjoy in the United States is to defeat the Obama plan for a government takeover and restore a competitive and efficient health care system."
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