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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
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
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.