With Paul Ryan now on the GOP ticket and the Medicare/health care debate now even more volatile, consider this bit of folly when pondering government’s role in health care. Recently, while on the way to church, I made my typical Sunday morning stop at a local convenience store for my usual concoction, comprising coffee and cappuccino (which costs me only 63 cents). While I was in line to pay, I noticed that the customer in front of me was purchasing several packs of cigarettes.
Being 43, and having not purchased a pack of cigarettes since my teenage years, I curiously scanned the prices displayed on the rack of smokes behind the register. Amazingly, I noticed that several brands were nearly $7 a pack. Of course, much of the cost of a pack of cigarettes is due to high taxes, along with the Tobacco Masters Settlement Agreement.
Why did U.S. states sue Big Tobacco, and how do states justify the high taxes on tobacco products? The answer is to “recover” their tobacco-related health care costs. The Medicaid lawsuits filed by the states eventually led to a multi-billion (hundreds of billions!)-dollar settlement, which is still being paid out today.
Now we have cities like New York wanting to ban large sodas and buttered popcorn, again in the name of “health care costs.” Why do individual health care issues require a government solution? The answer, of course, is because government has so immersed itself in the health care industry. Isn’t it just like Big Government to decide that it needs to “fix” a problem that it caused in the first place?
Most of the problems with U.S. health care come down to two issues, and of course, both are the result of Big Government.