What if They Gave a Health-Care Seminar and Nobody Came?

June 29, 2009

For immediate release (443 words)

A friend was invited to what he described as a “quite important” academic seminar this week at an impressive Indianapolis address where some of the smartest minds in the nation were to gather to discuss health-care reform.

Our friend declined.

That decision disappointed many of his political and academic acquaintances. The friend is a policy analyst, after all, and “quite important” academic seminars are what policy analysts do.

Nonetheless, his explanation — excuse, if you will — is worth hearing. It gets at the reason Indiana and the nation have a health-care crisis in the first place.

His most obvious point is that an academic seminar in Indianapolis, Indiana, will not affect a vote only months if not weeks away in Washington, D.C. That is especially true of a vote to be cast by the most detached congress assembled in our lifetimes (11 percent approval rating) and a vote on one of the most myth-laden of issues (see listing at left).

The time to have scheduled such a seminar, our friend says, was 20 years ago when those we have since sent to Washington were still teachable on the particularly cruel economics of nationalized or universal health care.

The argument admittedly begins to break down here. The Indiana Policy Review Foundation, in fact, organized such seminars throughout Indiana 20 years ago, flying in the best minds on health care and health insurance in the nation. Moreover, the group invited Indiana’s most promising young political leaders and the editors of its most influential newspapers.

So is it just a matter of timing?

No, the economics of health care so clearly advise against a government solution and has done so for so long that the timing of a seminar is irrelevant. What is needed is a more serious citizenry, especially in the political and journalistic classes, willing to sort out truth from lies, fact from political promise.

“No law passed by more than 500 members of Congress is going to be simple or even consistent,” notes the economist and columnist Thomas Sowell. “There are already 125,000 pages of Medicare regulations. Universal health care can only mean more.”

Sowell recalls watching helpless as a man suffered a heart attack in front of what was then the Public Health Service headquarters in Washington, D.C. It turned out the man did not have the proper employee identification to be treated at the medical station inside. He died as an ambulance made its way to him across town in rush-hour traffic.

“He died waiting for a doctor, in a building full of doctors,” Sowell concludes. “That is what bureaucracy means.”

What we really need is a seminar on how our families can survive this bad idea. Throw in a speaker on black-market medicine and our friend will be there.

Craig Ladwig is editor of The Indiana Policy Review. Contact him at cladwig@inpolicy.org.

Plefriend.

Mailing address: PO Box 5166, Fort Wayne, IN 46895
Telephone: 260.417.4094

Copyright (C) 2009 The Indiana Policy Review Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Indiana Policy Review Foundation is a nonprofit education foundation focused on state and municipal issues. It is free of outside control by any individual, organization or group. It exists solely to conduct and distribute research on Indiana issues. Nothing written here is to be construed as reflecting the views of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation or as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any bill before the legislature or to further any political campaign.



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