Letters to the Editor

Health care: Government programs inflated

The recently enacted Medicare bill is another perfect example of gross inefficiency caused by the federal government’s interference. There are only two industries in America that suffer from high inflation: health care and education. In both industries government plays a role more prominent than Adam Smith’s invisible hand.

The Cato Institute conducted a study that showed that services covered by Medicare and private insurance have higher rates of inflation that medical services that are not generally covered. While the new prescription drug benefit will be available to all seniors, currently only 22 percent do not have drug coverage. In the last 40 years the cost per pupil at public schools has tripled as the performance on standardized tests has declined. Tuition at Washington State University and the University of Washington has seen double digit inflation the last two years with no relief in sight.

Those who don’t qualify for government support are being priced out of the marketplace, or being charged too much for a deteriorating product. In today’s world of widely disseminated technology and advancement in health care and education, the cost of both should be decreasing (at the very least the product should be getting better). In 1960, nearly two-thirds of medical expenses were paid directly by the consumer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics health insurance cost have risen 1,050 percent while overall consumer price index has seen a 480 percent increase.

I wish the Republicans were trying to privative health care more earnestly. It would be great if fiscal conservative, Democrat or Republican, would have fought the Great Society four decades ago with health savings accounts that are finally being put into effect this year. If the 22 percent of seniors who do not have drug coverage had been able to save $2,600 a year, tax-free, as young adults, the number of those uncovered would be drastically lower and so would the need for any government assistance.

Christian Lyness

Coupeville

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