Legislators have health care tunnel vision

By John Stafford, Staff Writer

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch8212;who claims health care has been a cornerstone of his 32 year career in the senate8212;showed how out of touch he was with the American people when he sided with many congressional Republicans attempting to block health care reform. These congressmen still seem to believe that America has the best health care on the planet.

This might be true for Hatch, who enjoys all of the health care benefits of a hardworking U.S congressman, such as access to the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program, hich gives members of congress on average a choice between five and 10 health plans. However, it seems a little delusional to me, a 22-year-old college student who has an impacted wisdom tooth and no health insurance.

I’m not alone. According to the Government Accountability Office, about 20 percent of college students don’t carry health insurance. More daunting is an estimate from Medical and Science News that predicts the number of Americans without health insurance will grow from about 45 million this year to about 54 million in 2019 if there are no changes in federal policy.

Hatch is quick to complain about proposed public health care options. According to the Associated Press, Hatch said, “You can always count on all the inefficiencies of government, you can always count on the bureaucrats eating us alive,” while ignoring the fact that he has government health care, paid for by the U.S taxpayer.

Ah, the inefficiencies of government, things like police fighting crime in our cities, the military protecting the country, fireman coming to your house for free to put it out when it’s engulfed in flames, the public school education where I learned the basic writing skills essential to this opinion piece and the Social Security check my sick grandma and Hatch get every month.

I won’t deny that the government is at times inefficient. Have you ever been to the DMV? Why do I need I.D. to get I.D.? If I had I.D. I wouldn’t need I.D.! But to say that everything the government does is inefficient and irrelevant, and use this excuse as a roadblock to better health care for the American people is overkill. It’s easy to complain about the Orwellian, Soviet nature of so called “big government,” but few seem willing to give up the essential services it provides.

If the government is so inefficient, then Hatch, as an employee of the government, whose opinions are paramount in dictating its functionality, is partly to blame for this. Given the current state of health care in the United States, Hatch should be embarrassed to say that health care has been a cornerstone of his 32-year career. With this statement he is taking some responsibility for the fact that the average life expectancy for our generation will be less than that of our parents’ generation.

Many congressmen say a public health care sector would place a bureaucrat between the patient and doctor. Who are these bureaucrats? I’m not sure that they could be much worse than the corporate bureaucrats that currently run the insurance companies and are keeping millions of Americans from seeing doctors. At least I could actually see a doctor without having to pick up a second job to do so. If these evil phantom bureaucrats were to indeed emerge from the shadows, at least they would be picking up the check for those expensive clinic visits.

The private sector has had its chance, and while it has worked well for some, it leaves too many people behind. It is time that our congressmen from both parties stop bickering over clichéd partisan ideology and engage in the dialogue necessary to improve the health of the average American.

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John Stafford

Vladimir Sokolov