Dr. Milton Wolf, The Washington Times
“We don’t want to take away people’s health insurance,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius so graciously declared earlier this year. But then she quickly qualified that with these ominous words: “before they have some realistic other choices.”
Americans have overwhelmingly, consistently and wisely been opposed to a European-style, single-payer, government-run, socialized health care system. So how might the big- government types who are hell-bent on forcing their will upon us attempt to implement this oppressive system in America? Simple. By creating medical refugees desperate for any port in a storm. That storm is coming and, unlike global warming, it’s actually man-made.
America somehow managed to survive for 189 years without Medicare or Medicaid and, in fact, became the greatest nation in the history of humankind. Established in 1965 – a mere 46 years ago – too many politicians today lack the perspective to understand this health care altar at which they worship. Instead of reforming the system to align it with American values, they abuse it as an eternal source of giveaways to buy votes. As for the politicians of the 1960s, except for the mop tops and go-go boots, they were very much like the politicians of today: They made a lot of empty promises.
President Lyndon B. Johnson promised that Medicare would cost about $500 million a year – yes, million. He even said that if costs went higher, then he was going to look like the “worst kind of damn fool.” Just a year later, in 1966, the House Ways and Means Committee estimated thatMedicare would cost about $12 billion a year by 1990. The actual 1990 cost was $107 billion – off by an order of magnitude but close enough for government work. And that’s when costs really took off. By 2008, annual costs hit $599 billion and the program for the first time went into deficit-spending mode.
For all the Democrats’ dishonesty and reckless spending, Republicans weren’t exactly blameless either. In 2003, President George W. Bush and a Republican Congress doubled down and ushered in the largest expansion in Medicare history with their senior citizen prescription drug entitlement program. They claimed the price tag would be $400 billion for the first decade but quietly adjusted that estimate upward to $534 billion just one month after passage.
Parenthetically, just three years later, in 2006, the free market roared as a private company in Bentonville, Ark. – without a single dime of taxpayer money or the compulsion from know-it-all government bureaucrats – lowered prices of the top 331 prescription medications to just $4 per month (and later to $10 per three months), not just for seniors but for all Americans. And equally importantly, Wal-Mart did not send the bill to our children.
Today we know that LBJ and a lot of other politicians indeed are the worst kind of damn fools.