As the White House and the Democratic-controlled Congress push with ever-increasing force to pass a comprehensive overhaul of the American health care system, the point that has generated the most contention has been a public option for health coverage. A government-run health insurance option has been the dream of many liberals for decades, and never before have they been as close as they are now to achieving it. But as always, they rely on speed and secrecy to enact their agenda, as the American public would surely abandon them were the full details to be made known. Indeed, polling shows that the majority of Americans, while dreamily supporting a health care overhaul, are vehemently opposed to the necessary cost of such a plan (currently projected at $1 trillion over ten years). And knowing the cost is half the battle. The other half is exposing the plan itself for the disaster that it represents.

First and foremost, we must deal with the fact that government-run anything is an inevitable disaster (Social Security, Medicaid, Amtrak, Congress). The supporters of the public option chide these claims by saying that, if the plan is destined for such abysmal failure, why are private insurers so worried about being able to compete? I would like you to examine that argument for just how ignorant it is and what a lose-lose situation it represents for the American people. Consider: either the public plan is a disaster and your tax dollars go to waste while private insurers continue to operate as they do now, making the entire exercise merely a colossal waste of time, resources and capital, or it is successful and private insurers are bankrupted and forced out of business, establishing a government-run monopoly on health care that even most Democrats are loathe to endorse.

But why, you may ask, would private insurers necessarily be hounded out of business by a public option? It is just an option, after all, not compulsory. Well, let’s examine the particulars of the plan. As currently proposed by its supporters, the public option would provide affordable health coverage by mandating that it be charged less (by most estimates at least 20% less) than private insurers by health care providers such as clinics, hospitals, and family doctors. Additionally, they intend to make this plan "affordable" for the lower and middle class Americans who it is intended to provide relief for by taxing private health insurers and the wealthiest income bracket to pay for it. Consider: private health insurers will be forced to pay to subsidize their chief competitor, Public Health Care, while at the same time operating at a competitive disadvantage by paying more to health care providers.

Additionally, money is money, and as much as the government may want you to believe that they can wave a magic wand and exempt themselves from market forces, this is not the case. Hospitals and health care services cost what they cost. If the government is charged less money for services provided as part of their plan, the profit lost from that transaction has to be made up somehow in order for health care providers to remain solvent. The only way to make up the losses in the market are, as always, to reduce pay or benefits for employees, layoff employees, or charge more for their services. The government has the power to insulate itself from the negative effects of the last option, as it can, through legislation, attempt to mandate its costs at a fixed rate (which only makes the problem worse, of course). This would leave private health insurance providers to pick up the lion’s share of the cost for health care services, disproportionate to the burden shouldered by government. Not only that, but bear in mind that private insurers are among those that legislators intend to foot the bill for the public plan by way of taxation, so they end up subsidizing public health care twice while suffering the ill-effects of its operation.

What means will private insurers have to remain not merely competitive but profitable if they are saddled with this ridiculously disproportionate financial obligation to keep their competitor’s doors open? Well, the same options that health care providers will have to stay afloat: salary/benefit reduction, layoffs, and increased costs to the consumer. From here it’s easy to see why private insurers will likely end up bankrupt and out of business, leaving the public option as the only option. Not only that, but in the worst case scenario, with the government plan assuming primacy, the lower costs charged by health care providers (now the only costs) would have to either go up to compensate for the massive losses those providers would stand to suffer, putting us right back where we started, or remain low and drive the quality of our health care services down.

There are other issues at stake here as well, such as the exodus of skilled, American-trained doctors from the United States to other countries that will offer higher wages (remember health care providers will have to cut costs no matter what) and the inevitability of most employer-furnished health care defaulting to the public option. But by far the most detrimental effect of the public option is the elimination of private insurance providers altogether, no matter what the White House or Congress tells you.



IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton
John Hancock
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot
LeeCarter Braxton
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Matthew Thornton
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams