Health care: broke and broken.

I think that despite all of the controversy, rhetoric, and fiery opinions that we see on TV and read in the news, most of us can agree that the current healthcare system in this great country of ours is broken.

46 million of our fellow Americans are without health insurance, and those that do have it have seen skyrocketing premiums and costs that have increased far beyond where the inflation rate tells us they should be.

Within the next 20 years, Medicare and Medicaid (not to mention Social Security) will likely be completely insolvent, representing literally trillions of dollars of unfunded government mandates.

Oh, did I mention the almost $12 trillion national debt, that’s increasing by an average of literally $3.88 billion a day?

With all of these problems facing our country, it is increasingly obvious that we need a variety of solutions to help fix the challenges that one day soon our generation will be charged with solving.

Unfortunately, a move to government run universal healthcare is not one such solution.

We simply can’t afford it.

Experts project that over the next decade, the implementation of any kind of government healthcare system will cost Americans over $1.5 trillion dollars.

How can we honestly think that universal healthcare won’t simply become yet another empty government promise; another unfunded government mandate?

Cost aside though, the history of government health care intervention doesn’t exactly provide an endorsement for what it might do today.

Nobel-laureate economist Milton Friedman studied this very problem and showed that in fact the more money government has spent on healthcare since the early 1900’s, the less health care we have gotten in return.

For example, from the years 1965-1989, government expenditures on healthcare increased by a staggering 224 percent.

Ironically, during that exact same time period, not only did the number of hospital beds per 1,000 people decrease by 44%, but also costs per patient-day in fact increased 24-fold. And yet government today promises us a more efficient, lower cost system?

So what do we do? How do we solve the crises facing our nation?The solution, like the solution to most of our problems is to respond with an increased amount of economic freedom. We must eliminate the laundry list of irrational regulations that prevent people from finding coverage.

We must eliminate barriers to allow small businesses, which employ over 60% of our nation, to band together with other small businesses and pool healthcare costs so that they can provide coverage to their employees.

We must allow people to purchase insurance from agencies outside of the state in which they live, encouraging nationwide competition amongst firms that will lead to an overall decrease in premiums.

Finally, we must step up and demand that our government spend and collect its revenue responsibly. It’s time to end the cycle of debt, money creation, and inflation that continues to both drive up costs and literally devalue the money that sits in our wallets and bank accounts.

Are these perfect solutions? Will they fix all of the problems that we face? Of course not. But right now, they’re clearly a few responsible things that we ought to do.

And until we learn to be fiscally responsible again, they’re all we can do.

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