The GOP Thinks You're Over-Insured

A few years ago, during Bush's pitch in support of health saving accounts, the LA Times' Peter Gosselin reported a detail that was generally overlooked: "Most conservatives -- including those in the [Bush] administration -- believe that the root cause of most problems with the nation's healthcare system is that most Americans are over-insured."

Ezra Klein added at the time, "Conservatives believe Americans have too much health insurance, that they spend heedlessly and wastefully on care, procedures, and medications they would simply forego if insurance plans didn't pick up the tab."

That, however, was 2006. Is this still how the right approaches the health care system? Actually, yes. Reps. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) and Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) had an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal the other day with a fascinating lede:

When was the last time you asked your doctor how much it would cost for a necessary test or procedure? In all likelihood, you can't remember. That's because your employer-provided health plan or the government "paid for it." In fact, you paid. We all pay for health care.

There's no denying that our health-care system is complex. However, we can trace most of the problems in the current system to the lack of control individuals and families have over their care.

Ah, yes, "control." Let's say you're suffering from some kind of ailment, and your physician recommends a treatment. If you had more "control," you might second-guess whether your doctor's solution is cost-effective. When he/she orders some tests, you should have more "control" about whether those tests are really worth the money.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.