Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) called it a holocaust - the death of approximately 45,000 Americans each year due to a lack of health insurance. While his choice of words is reprehensible, and blaming the situation on Republicans absurd, the statistic he is referring to does beg a very interesting question:
Why put a system at risk that provides quality healthcare to 350 million Americans on an effort that may only directly benefit 45,000 individuals?
Obama and Democrats have been advertising the massively inflated number of 46 million uninsured Americans for months as a core reason for healthcare reform, though the real figure is actually closer to 12 million. However, even this can be misleading. While it may be true that 12 million Americans do not have health insurance, most are reasonably healthy and should they become seriously ill and could not afford treatment, most would still receive the services they require. Worst case scenario they go broke paying for their healthcare and then become eligible for Medicaid. Might not be pretty, but at least you're alive to fight another day.
The vast majority of Americans get the healthcare they absolutely need, and the 45,000 figure, around 1/100th of one percent of the population of the United States, supports this conclusion. There will always be those unlucky few that fall through the cracks, whether because of mental illness, lack of family support, or some other reason, but that's not justification to burn down the entire healthcare system that 350 million Americans rely on.
A Simple Solution for Healthcare Reform
Why doesn't Congress create legislation that specifically addresses the needs of those in imminent danger? While the actual number may be greater than 45,000, it should be possible to find a way to help these people. Currently 87.4 million receive healthcare benefits from the government and I suspect that adding few hundred thousand of the most vulnerable to the rolls would be reasonable.
This goes to the point of what exactly Democrats wish to accomplish with their healthcare reform … is it to improve the healthcare circumstances of Americans in need, or a blatant power grab by self-important politicians who want to write their names in the history books?
The Law of Unintended Consequences
The law of unintended consequences is a well theory established in American politics. It means you don't mess around with complicated things you don't fully understand. For example, it was President Clinton who allowed the construction of nuclear power plants in Iran and North Korea in the first place … he didn't think it was that big a deal at the time. Unfortunately we're all suffering the consequences of that foolhardy decision to this very day.
There is no doubt that Democrat monkey wrenching on the $2.4 trillion healthcare system will have similar disastrous results. They have no idea of the added value we all gain from our free market healthcare system, the largest and most powerful in the world - no thanks to government bureaucrats I might add. The gigantic cuts they are proposing for Medicare and a multitude of other bad ideas like rationing boards and death panels will cause untold misery for a lot more than 45,000 people.
It's the Economy, Stupid
The biggest healthcare problem we face today isn't adequate insurance it's the multitudes of people losing their jobs every month, many of whom relied on their employers for coverage. Until Obama and his activist administration understands that the most important thing they can do to ensure the lasting good health of Americans is to take care of the economy, we're all in trouble.
It would be far better for everyone if Democrats stop seeing themselves as "saviors" of the world, and instead returned to a more practical manner of governing. No matter how noble Democrat intentions may be, putting a healthcare system that successfully serves hundreds of millions of people on the line to save a few 10s of thousands isn't the answer.
But of course if they understood this they wouldn't be Democrats, would they?