Freedom First Society

Q: Hello, Dr. Chartrand. The healthcare debate has heated up tremendously since our last interview. What are your thoughts?

A: Hello, Paul. Yes, much has transpired since our interview of more than four months ago. Two things come immediately to mind. First, the vast majority of taxpayers in this country have declared in so many words, “We do not, repeat, we do not want more government control over our healthcare, our freedoms or our economy.” Yet this president and Democratic Congress — obviously working for someone other than the American people—have turned a cold shoulder and refused to engage the concerns they were elected to represent. Secondly, every single concern of those who opposed ObamaCare has since proven to be what Obama and Company had in mind all along: Free healthcare for illegals, taxpayer financed abortions, a National ID Card with tentacles into bank accounts and all personal assets, huge Medicare funding cuts, rationing, passive euthanasia, higher taxes, penalties for noncompliance, and the eventual destruction of private healthcare.This all adds up to a repudiation of the U.S. Constitution, abrogation of freedoms, and certain economic devastation. Without a doubt, it can safely be said that we have a president who seems incapable of telling the truth about almost anything, and a liberal Congress that demonstrates a contempt for all things American.
Q: OK. Let’s take the proponents of ObamaCare at their word and suppose for a moment that they are correct that our current system of healthcare is in serious condition. How would you respond?
A: Yes, there are flaws in the current system, and nearly all of them land at the doorstep of a liberal Congress who, over time, has prodded, bribed, cajoled, regulated, and formed so many conflicts of interest that is no wonder it is in need of reform. But certainly, the reform that is NOT needed is the one putting the final nail in the coffin of what could and should be the best healthcare system in the world. There is so little free market left in a system that is already over 60% government financed, where lifestyle and health habits of the end users are so thoroughly disengaged from consequences and costs.
Q: What about those who genuinely need help with their health care?
A: I need to clarify that no matter how we do this, there will always be those whose cost of healthcare will need to be absorbed by the larger society. The question comes into play, however, should this be used as a ploy for politicians to take over a sixth of the U.S. economy in the guise of beneficence for all. The guise, of course, is masking the fact that somebody has to pay for it. And the “somebody” becomes “somebody else”, inevitably releasing individuals from the consequences of bad lifestyle and health choices, where there is almost instantly a shortage, rationing, and in the end, a new definition of the value of life itself. We need to help those in need, but certainly we should not destroy the engine that drives ingenuity, economy, and personal responsibility in the process.
Q: Then, how would you propose to reform the current system without upsetting one-sixth of the U.S. economy and reign in the steady escalation cost of healthcare?

A: You know, it is strange that the liberals in Congress repeatedly make the claim that conservatives have no proposals on the table. I served with the Healthcare Equity Action League (HEAL) during the late 1980s to mid 1990s, and during that time, by virtue of think-tank studies and computer models, we proposed at that time nearly everything that is needed to put healthcare back onto solid footing today. These suggestions will not increase taxes or the deficit, will provide greater individual freedom under the Constitution, and will, over time, drive down total healthcare costs as incentive-driven principles are applied:1) If we want competition, we can have it by allowing competition across state lines. It is puzzling why the Obama-Reid-Pelosi Triumvirate refuse to even acknowledge this suggestion, for by itself it will allow insurers to compete in a truly free market of healthcare options. It is clear that their agenda does not include competition, but a virtual stamping out of the free market and millions of displaced and lost workers in the process. By contrast, taxpayer-subsidized anything is unfair “competition” (if can be called that).2) Remove hundreds of state and federal mandates on healthcare insurance plans that continue to drive up costs by requiring needless coverage (such as maternity, etc, for those who do not need it). These regulations were designed more for protectionism than to meet patient needs. They are unneeded and serve no one but vested interests. Drop these ridiculous restrictions on the marketplace and watch the cost of healthcare nosedive.

3) Tort reform needs to go much further than merely putting caps on non-economic suffering. The spectre of malpractice claims looms large no matter how low or high the caps are. Currently, the cost threshold for legal representation in tort claims starts at $250,000 — and that is just to get to trial! Tort reform must address ambulance chasing, unnecessary medical tests, and frivolous claims with heavy penalties.

4) Expand Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Contrary to propaganda from the livid left, HSAs drive down costs as they reconnect accountability all the way up and down the market. Insurers, consumers, suppliers, all, under the HSA model benefit. Fraud and unfair politician-corporate collusions are instantly in the light of day under such a transparent and efficient system.

5) When it comes time to address the serious flaws in Medicare and Medicaid and myriad indigent care programs — which in time threaten to bankrupt both state and federal government if left unchecked — the aforementioned HSA model will be something to consider.

Q: What do you feel are the chances of defeating ObamaCare?

A: I will first say that, due to the enormous outpouring of objections from so many of my fellow Americans, and their passion on this topic, liberal politicians are faced with a deeply passionate and affluent opposition unlike anything we’ve seen in the past. They will not be able to ignore this kind of mass-consensus for long. Americans now realize they have been betrayed by their politicians they put into office and they will not forget that in upcoming election cycles. So, what are the chances of defeating ObamaCare? I would say very good to excellent.

But I qualify those odds this way: If the Obama-Reid-Pelosi Triumvirate succeed in bribing enough vested interests and weak politicians into supporting and passing ObamaCare, a sizable portion of their henchmen will find themselves thrown out of office during the 2010 election cycle. Then, we will defeat ObamaCare before it wastes any more of the time and resources of this nation. If, by a slim chance, ObamaCare survives 2010, the angst of an ignored and double-crossed electorate will surely rise to the aid of their country in 2012 to throw the whole lot of them out of office, and  then defeat ObamaCare, just before it goes into effect.

That is my take, and I feel confident that we will win, whether now or later — ObamaCare is such a Trojan Horse filled with bribery, fraud, scandals, intrusions, and creative accounting that the American people will not stand for it to ever go into effect. Who would want a National ID card that is connected to every asset they own just to worse coverage than they now have? Certainly, not informed Americans. Not while better solutions — the elephants in the living room, I call them — stand clearly and resolutely waiting to be adopted. Like they say, “The truth will out.”

Dr. Chartrand serves as professor of behavioral medicine, and is a widely published author, and health researcher. He is also a Constitutional conservative who advocates free market solutions to the current problems in the U.S. healthcare system. 

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