I organized the Recess Rally in Livonia (I hope the Canton rally went well! I discovered Rattle With Us while organizing the Livonia Recess Rally). We ended up having about 150 people attend to listen to two local doctors discuss the health care legislation and answer questions from the audience. The doctors did a fantastic job, but unfortunately only about 30 people brought signs with which to demonstrate after the speakers were done.
Scott Hagerstrom from Americans for Prosperity also came and spoke to the audience. They are circulating a petition called Hands Off My Health Care. You can find it at http://www.joinpatientsfirst.com/petition.
I wrote the following in case I had to speak (which I didn't), so I thought I would share it:
The statists, those that prefer government control over individual liberty, must always have a villain to attack in order to push their agenda. Today I thought I would talk about the villain in the health care debate - the insurance companies.
Let me first say that I do not work for an insurance company nor am I getting paid by one. I’m not here to defend all of the insurance industries’ practices or to say that reforms are not needed. I don’t even claim any deep knowledge of the subject. What I do know is that insurance companies are private companies that make private contracts with private citizens, and that is what is known as the free market, and free-market capitalism is one of the things that made our country the greatest and most prosperous nation in the history of the world.
Those for government-run health care are really against the free market. They say that insurance companies are making outrageous and immoral profits that are robbing the sick of health care. They try to stir up indignation when they tell us of the billions of dollars in profits that insurance companies are making. But what type of profit do they make? Health Care Plans had a profit margin of only 3.3% last quarter. 85 other industries - including software, beverages, personal services, cleaning products, wireless communications, and waste management – all reported higher profits than the insurance companies. If only our tax rate was 3.3%!
And when did profits become a bad thing? No one knows better than us in Detroit what happens when companies don’t make profits. Businesses close; jobs are lost; families suffer; people are forced to move; communities lose their tax base. We see the pain all around us. Yet we are told by the left that profits are evil.
But profits are not just important for jobs, they are also important for millions of other people known as investors. How many people have a mutual fund, a 401K, a pension fund, or are part of a retirement system? They are all investors, many of whom are relying on the success of one or more insurance companies for their retirement account, college fund, or life savings.
Our opponents may at this point say they are concerned about patients and we aren’t. This is of course not true! Profits aren’t just good for employees, corporations, and investors - they are also good for customers. In order for a company to continue to make a profit, they must have satisfied customers. The government has no such obligation to make a profit - as is evidenced by the United States Government‘s nearly $12 trillion debt. This also means that they need not worry about customer satisfaction, which is something we have all experienced at the DMV.
Now our opponents also tell us that we must have a government option that will provide competition to the private insurance companies. Well let me ask you this - if this argument is true for health insurance, why not auto insurance, life insurance, and home owners’ insurance? Must there be a government option for these as well? Likewise, if this is true for the insurance industry, why not for appliances, shoes, sporting goods, and peanut butter? If it’s true for one industry, it must be true for all, and we all know that’s not the case. The billions of people that have suffered in poverty under strong centralized governments prove this wrong.
Those for government control also say that a government option will keep private insurance companies honest. Are they serious? Is this because there is a greater level of morality in people that work for the government than in those who work for the private sector? Do you think the people in congress are more moral than us? Of course not! Add to this the endless parade of scandals that we see from our public officials at all levels and on both sides of the political aisle and we know that those in government are not morally superior. Furthermore, how can a government that bankrupted social security, bankrupted Medicare, and is spending the money of unborn generations claim to be honest?
Finally, they tell us a government option will save money because it will be more efficient. Let me ask you a question – when was the last election cycle that you did not hear the candidates discuss eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse? You probably can’t remember one, because there always has been and always will be waste, fraud, and abuse in government – it’s inherent in the bureaucracy. The many problems with the Cash for Clunkers program is just the latest example.
The insurance industry does need reforms, but insurance companies are not the villains. Many of the problems in the system are a result of government regulations. As long as health care is done through private companies, the customer will always have choices and appeals. They are not always easy choices, or even the choices that we want, but they are choices. Once the government controls health care, there will be no choice. The government will control your physical well being.
The fight over health care is part of a larger struggle of personal freedom versus government control. The world has known many governments, but it was not until the United States of America that it knew freedom. It is now our job to engage in a philosophical struggle to maintain and even regain the freedom that is America, for as Abraham Lincoln said “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”