by Dr. Hal Scherz
Georgians have a big decision to make come January when runoff elections for the state’s two Senate seats will determine if President-elect Biden and his allies in Congress have a clear path to push their legislative agenda. Healthcare reform is a key component on the to-do list and if Democrats control all the levers of government, patients will suffer.
We’ve seen this movie before. During the last healthcare reform push under a Democrat-controlled Congress and White House, Obamacare was born.
At the time, President Obama misled Americans by suggesting they could keep their doctor and insurance plan if they liked it, knowing full well that it wasn’t a promise he would be able to keep. From the beginning, intentions behind the legislation were to shift decision-making power from patients and their doctors to Washington D.C.—all while compelling Americans to participate in a system controlled by bureaucrats and special interests.
We soon learned of the consequences the new top-down system had on patients. The spools of government red tape and middlemen sparked price hikes and shrunk the pool of healthcare options Americans could choose from. In many cases, patients could no longer see the doctors with whom they had relationships for years.
Now Democrats want to double down on the strategy by injecting even more government control into healthcare. President-elect Biden supports strengthening and expanding Obamacare, while more radical wings of the party endorse Medicare for All. Either way, both these options end with forcing Americans into a one-size-fits-all healthcare program, as private insurers are slowly squeezed out of the marketplace.
Countries around the world with socialized, or government-controlled, healthcare systems provide a glimpse into the future if the U.S. travels down this path. In countries like the U.K. or Canada, waitlists to receive healthcare stretch into the millions and wait times to see a specialist, for example, are frequently up-to seven times longer than in the U.S. As a result, people who can afford to leave the socialized system do so, including the political elites who will not subject themselves to the same mediocre healthcare they wish to impose on the general public.
One of the scariest consequences of socialized medicine is the rationing of healthcare; it’s the only way to keep such a system functioning. It may mean cancer screenings will be limited, or certain drugs will be unavailable to you. There’s a chance that operations which could improve the quality of your life would not be approved. A bureaucrat will decide whether the treatment that could extend your life an extra year or two would be cost effective to the system or if it would be better to simply make you comfortable.
At the same time that Democrats advocate for a government takeover of healthcare, they argue Republicans have no healthcare reform plan at all—or have even more sinister intentions. In Georgia, commercials funded by leftwing groups and candidates are accusing incumbent Republican Sens. Perdue and Loeffler of actually trying to take away people’s healthcare.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Sens. Loeffler and Perdue want Americans to make healthcare decisions for themselves. They want a level playing field where healthcare costs are not inflated to enrich special interests and where patients can receive personalized healthcare that fits their unique circumstances. They want to protect the patient-doctor relationship and leave medical decisions in the examination room, rather than bend to the will of bureaucrats.
In fact, these are all key components of a Senate resolution recently introduced by Sens. Loeffler and Perdue. It’s a healthcare reform plan—which mirrors a framework already released by the Job Creators Network Foundation called Healthcare for You—that residents of the Peach State can get behind.
The Georgia senatorial runoff couldn’t be more important as the future of healthcare for Georgians, as well as all Americans, hangs in the balance. The healthcare system in the U.S. is broken, but more government control will only make it worse.
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Dr. Hal Scherz is the President of Georgia Urology and a member of the Job Creators Network.