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Yes!  I Want to Know
By Kate Burch

Governor Kasich, who more and more is exposed as a practitioner of the kind of cronyism and authoritarian rule we have seen in Washington these past eight years, is refusing to support or enforce a 2015 law providing for transparency in the prices of health care services and procedures.
 
The law would provide that when a patient requests an estimate of the total cost of a non-emergency medical service and how much of that cost insurance would be expected to cover, that estimate must be provided.  When the governor joins forces with entities such as the Ohio Hospital Association and the Ohio State Medical Association in resisting such honest dealing, one wonders why.
 
Anyone who has obtained and examined an itemized statement of the costs for a health care event knows that the numbers are absurd and the methods of determining what is paid by private insurance or a government program, what is disallowed, and what the patient must pay out-of-pocket totally opaque.   We know that hospitals are not hurting—just look at the growth in size and luxuriousness of the facilities over the last couple of decades.  We also know that insurance premiums and deductibles continue to rise.  So much money—and where is it all going?
 
It seems clear that the objective is to place the nation’s health care under the control of government, and it is very troubling and disappointing that our governor, who is nominally a Republican, is colluding in this program.
 
People say that we are the only industrialized nation that does not provide health care for its citizens; that health care should be considered a “right,” and provided equally to everyone regardless of their means.  There are so many flaws in this argument that it is hard to know where to start.  First, if one follows the line of reasoning, one would have to say that the government should also provide food, clothing, and shelter for all of its citizens.  I don’t really relish the thought of waking up in the government dormitory or apartment complex, donning my government-issued Mao suit, and lining up at the government cafeteria for my breakfast.  Another problem with the assertion is that experience shows that whenever government takes control of a service, it will inevitably become more expensive, less accessible, and of lowered quality—think state-supported education.  One of the pillars of socialism is control of health care.  For the sake of “fairness,” “social justice,” or “equality” one would sacrifice liberty and human dignity—not to mention virtue, as there is no charity, generosity, or community involved in coerced redistribution of wealth.
 
Health care is a service, provided by an expert for a consumer, in the same way that auto repair, home construction, or barbering are.  If people are free to seek expert help of their choosing for their health care and to contract openly and transparently with the expert to make compensation, market forces would work to make health care again affordable, and we would, I predict, again see the service orientation of those who choose to work as professional healers, in concert with the charity of religious groups and individuals rise to take up the slack.
 
Implementation of the health care transparency legislation would be a step in the right direction toward solving the ongoing crisis in health care costs, and it deserves our full-throated support.


 
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