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Robert Bennett: Health care decisions should be left up to individuals

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  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 7, 2014 1:26 a.m.

    I liked the Bennett/Wyden plan better than I like Obamacare. But even when Senator Bennett's party controlled both houses of congress and the White House, he couldn't get it passed.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    July 7, 2014 5:58 a.m.

    I would not be a bad idea to have health insurance de-linked from one's employer.

    it would be a better idea to create a system that says healthcare is a national right, and that government funds such a system. In this way, we all pay into the health care system as individuals and there are no shirkers. The more you earn or spend, the more you contribute. (Pick a system.)

    And by the way, the doctors and hospitals don't have to be employees and property of the government. Other than Britain or Canada, this is how things work in first world countries.

  • MNmamaof4 Lakeville, MN
    July 7, 2014 6:07 a.m.

    "Not my boss's business." I agree, so why force the boss to pay for it? One of the problems with the Federal Government trying to "fix" everything is that they are too far removed to make decisions that benefit individual circumstances. It's the case with healthcare, education, welfare, etc. Government power was supposed to be localized for a reason. I agree that letting people choose the healthcare plan that works for them and their family is a much better solution than blanket coverage.

  • Jeff Harris Edmonds, WA
    July 7, 2014 6:12 a.m.

    Bob, referring to the VA system as a single payer system is cherry picking facts. Not is the VA system a single payer system, more significantly, it is a single provider system. I am not aware of anyone who is arguing for a single provider system.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    July 7, 2014 6:39 a.m.

    "With the scandal at the VA having tarnished the idea of a single-payer system run by the government"
    Well, that whole sentence undermines Mr. Bennett's own arguments. Mainley because, it proves he doesn't know what he's talking about. A single payer system would be where all US citizens get Medicare(or some similar medical insurance) that is operated by the government. The VA is a universal system, where the government owns the hospital, employee's the doctors, nurses and other medical personnel. They are in no way the same thing.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    July 7, 2014 7:32 a.m.

    I don't know how de-coupling insurance from Hobby Lobby's owners would be workable, by their own act of conscience.

    If they're unwilling to provide insurance that includes certain contraceptives, wouldn't they also be uncomfortable giving the money to their employees, who in turn could turn around and purchase the same contraceptives?

    It seems the only way Hobby Lobby could remain plausibly uninvolved is to not provide healthcare credits at all. Actually, if they boosted the employees salaries without an insurance credit, the employees could still purchase the contraceptives in question, which Hobby Lobby would object to.

    Could they require employees to not purchase those contraceptives, under threat of termination.

    This slippery slide has silicone all over it.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    July 7, 2014 7:52 a.m.

    Bob, health care decisions are in fact in the hands of individuals, as long as the health insurance companies agree. I've seen the judgment and decisions of doctors overruled by health insurance companies. The idea of an unknown, unseen institution making our decisions has been with us for a long time. So then the question is, if this is going to be the case, is it better to provide universal coverage, even though so decisions will be limited by the balancing of costs vs. benefit? I would say so, yes. Recap: We already have portioned medical care. Let's make it universal and not worry so much as to which institutional interest makes the decision. In fact, I would prefer the federal government because they are not in the business of making money off us.

  • Light and Liberty St. George/Washington, UT
    July 7, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    Esquire: "not in the business of making money off us." Are you kidding? If laughter could be taxed, would you still make that statement? Those who don't want to make decisions would do well in any other system in the world now or in history, which would send a shiver up the spine for most!

  • ShaunMcC La Verkin, UT
    July 7, 2014 8:19 a.m.

    Wow. I seldom find myself defending Mr. Bennett, but I must here. While I don't believe the national government should be involved in health care outside of regulating interstate commerce, if we are stuck with it doing so, the plan to let each employee determine the health care program they prefer is much less onerous than what we have now. Two other quick responses.
    @IOCC, try not to exaggerate. HL has never indicated that they are interested in controlling what their employees do, only opposing paying for things they disagree with. Big Difference.
    @esquire, In what world of massive taxes, fees and required contributions does your final sentence make sense? "I would prefer the federal government because they are not in the business of making money off us." And, if you don't think they are making money off us now, just wait as the debt rises and more is needed to fund those social security and medicare accounts as more people reach retirement age and start taking money out of the system that is already in serious trouble.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    July 7, 2014 8:39 a.m.

    Giving individuals more control over their health care insurance is the opposite of what Obamacare is all about.

    It is a huge wealth redistribution plan where healthy people are forced to pay way more for insurance than they actually need in order to pump money into a system that must provide expensive care to others. If you give people choices, they would opt for cheaper alternatives and the system would collapse.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    July 7, 2014 8:49 a.m.

    “Hobby Lobby's owners' religious convictions are very well known. ” No, not really. Did you know the owners of the Hobby Lobby belong to a religion that considers Mormonism a dangerous cult?

    SCOTUS essentially says this corporation can obstruct federal support for something that violates its religious beliefs. And “demonically inspired” Mormonism violates those religious beliefs. Check out the “Assembly of God Church Statement on the LDS.” Could they eventually dictate that their taxes go toward Mormon suppression?

    “Change the tax law so that Hobby Lobby and every other employer can give its health care expenditures directly to its employees, tax free, empowering them to control their own money and pick their own plans.”

    That would be kind of like abolishing social security wouldn’t it? Would the abolition of social security be next?

    We could privatize social security just like GW wanted to do in 2003. And people could take their money and invest in the stock market. Of course, if we had done as GW suggested in 2003, much of that money would have been lost in GW’s stock crash of 2008, wouldn’t it?

    Maybe we should just avoid half-baked “Conservative” schemes.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    July 7, 2014 9:30 a.m.

    Bob Bennett knows that his plan would never pass Congress. Obama said he was 90% for it, but realistically knew that it would never pass Congress.

    Who stopped it? The Republicans in the pay of the insurance companies, that's who. Bob has only his party to blame for the failure of Bennett-Wyden.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 7, 2014 9:34 a.m.

    I agree with Bob Bennett. The government has no right to force a company to hold money from its employees to pay for prescriptions. Only the very uninformed think that a company is paying for those prescriptions out of its own pockets. Employees are paid a wage. Taxes are withheld. Benefits are withheld. Social Security (including the employer's "matching funds" are withheld.

    Pay the employ 100% of the money earned and then let that employee pay all the taxes and all the "benefits" himself. If people had 100% of their paycheck in their possession and then had to "give" the government the taxes that the government has assessed there would be a revolt. People would finally understand what the government is doing.

    Health care is not a gift from government. It is not a gift from the employer. It is an expense that every American pays, either directly or in lieu of wages. Those who have "subsidized" insurance are requiring you and me to pay for their insurance premiums.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    July 7, 2014 9:41 a.m.

    "it can find a way to exempt the rare corporation with strong moral objections."

    I know you were only quoting this, Bob, but no corporation has strong moral objections. My apologies to both Romney and the Supreme Court, but corporations are not people. They do not have a moral sense. They can certainly behave in a way that is immoral, but that is a function of the people who determine the corporate culture. Let's stop talking about corporations as if they were living, breathing human beings. They are a hunk of property.

  • CMO Beaver Beaver, UT
    July 7, 2014 9:46 a.m.

    the Hobby Lobby decision was about one thing and only one thing.... federal government power

    the Feds put on the power play and they lost as they should have

    all of the chatter about women and birth control options is white noise, the most embarrassing thing about this is really Justice Ginsburg and her editorial that has nothing to do with jurisprudence, she should step down

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    July 7, 2014 9:51 a.m.

    @ Light and Liberty and ShaunMcC, taxes are different than marking up products and services to make a profit. Taxes are revenue for government services, not meant to provide a return on investment. If you think taxes are the same, perhaps you should learn more about the concept of government. You may not like to pay them, but that doesn't mean you are correct. you aren't.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    July 7, 2014 10:11 a.m.

    Republican Bob Bennett does not know what he is talking about as pointed out by DN readers above.

    How does a Republican hang around DC for as long as the former Senator and not know the most basic kind of distinction regarding health care?

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 7, 2014 10:54 a.m.

    "It is the law that makes you free" is probably the most true statement in the modern world.

    The war against our federal government is a war against the rights and freedoms of all Americans. All rights and freedoms of all Americans depend on the federal government having power and control over all Americans and their enemies. The government takes freedom from some people so that all people might have greater more desirable freedoms.

    If we remove the control over the health care business, Americans will lose the freedom to have proper, dependable, responsible and economical health care. The notion that every individual knows what's best for himself is not necessarily true in health care. And when we give private individuals control over our health care we give away out right to know what's best for us.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    July 7, 2014 10:57 a.m.

    GaryO: "...Maybe we should just avoid half-baked “Conservative” schemes."

    We should avoid ALL half-baked schemes, not just the conservative ones. Obamacare wasn't even half-baked. Almost no one who voted for it even bothered to read the bill. The fact that Obama has changed the law dozens of times (without constitutional authority BTW) since it passed is proof of how little it was thought out before passing. Unintended consequences (or maybe they really were intended like losing your doctor) are everywhere with this law.

    So I agree with you. Let's avoid the half-baked ideas (Cap and Trade, Immigration Reform, Gun Control, Legalized Drugs, Wealth Redistribution, SM Marriage, etc.) I would list some conservative half-baked ideas too, but for now they have no power to actually get any of them passed.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    July 7, 2014 12:17 p.m.

    @ordinaryfolks:
    "...it would be a better idea to create a system that says healthcare is a national right..."

    Healthcare IS a nation right. If you want/need some care, go to a doctor and get it. If you want healthcare insurance, go to an insurance company and get it. It ain't rocket science.

    "...and that government funds such a system."

    If the government funds such a system, you will find that the government will begin to decide about much of your life... such as what you can drink and eat (except cannabis) and what services you are eligible to receive. If you get old, and almost everyone will, and need some serious health care, the government can tell you to go pound sand. Called in some circles 'death panels.'

  • Light and Liberty St. George/Washington, UT
    July 7, 2014 12:35 p.m.

    Esquire: The irony about those who invest their philosophy in government is the idea almost universally applied, but seldom acknowledged or understood, is the concept of agency (meaning one always has a choice). What is it about agency that progressives or just many people in general won't acknowledge or accept. They would get a lot further with me if they old just acknowledge from the outset that they don't like agency and want somebody else to make their decisions for them. Perhaps we can create a state where these type of people can have al their decisions made for them and be done with it! Drones are great to have around and provide a great service! What this means in simplicity is this: you have a choice on whether you want a product or not. I like making my own decisions and thank God every day for that blessing. Government continues to annoy me because it continues to want to make my decisions for me, and gets support from people to try and do it! I am a simple man and want to keep it that way!

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    July 7, 2014 2:39 p.m.

    "With the scandal at the VA having tarnished the idea of a single-payer system run by the government,..."

    Good grief Senator Bennett, you'd think there were no single payer health plans in the western world. Well, there are, like the one in the Great White North! Could we have a look at them please?

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    July 7, 2014 2:40 p.m.

    Hey JoeCapitalist2 -

    Sorry, I realized my mistake as soon as I posted.
    “Half baked” and “Conservative schemes” are synonymous. I was being redundant, and that’s a bad habit to get into.

    “Obamacare wasn’t even half-baked?”

    Well, let’s not forget that “Conservative” legislators had every opportunity to weigh in on what would go into the ACA. Obama practically begged them to contribute, but they shirked their responsibility and refused.

    “I want to consult closely with our Republican colleagues," Obama said. "What I want to do is to ask them to put their ideas on the table. . . . I want to come back and have a large meeting, Republicans and Democrats, to go through, systematically, all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward." – Barack Obama, February 8, 2010

    “Conservatives” have only themselves to blame for the things they don’t like about ObamaCare and for countless other debacles. It’s not Obama’s fault that “Conservatives” once again shirked their duty to this nation.

    “Conservatives” have a habit of poor citizenship don’t they? . . . especially the politicos.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    July 7, 2014 2:40 p.m.

    And please, please, please could we get employers out of health care completely?

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    July 7, 2014 2:48 p.m.

    The whole Hobby Lobby dustup is but a continuation of the deceit surrounding American health care beginning with Ronald Reagan's huckstering for the AMA in the 1950's. I don't think either major party has the ability to resist the powerful lobbies weighing in on this issue. Only a revived Socialist Party can deal with this matter.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    July 7, 2014 2:57 p.m.

    GaryO: 'Well, let’s not forget that “Conservative” legislators had every opportunity to weigh in on what would go into the ACA. Obama practically begged them to contribute...I want to consult closely with our Republican colleagues," Obama said. "What I want to do is to ask them to put their ideas on the table. . . . I want to come back and have a large meeting, Republicans and Democrats, to go through, systematically, all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward." – Barack Obama, February 8, 2010"

    Do you honestly believe any part of that is true??? He lied about that just like he lied about keeping your doctor. Obama has NEVER considered anything that has been proposed by the GOP. None of their proposed fixes for Obamacare either before or after it passed has even been considered by this president.

    It's "my way or the highway" with Obama. He is willing to listen as long as you agree with him on every point. If you dissent at all, you are an obstructionist and a "do nothing" Congress. Compromise is not a word he is familiar with.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    July 7, 2014 3:27 p.m.

    Leave health care decisions up to individuals? Does that include giving a woman the right to decide what to do with her own body?

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    July 7, 2014 5:02 p.m.

    Hey JoeCapitalist2 -

    “Do you honestly believe any part of that is true???”

    Absolutely. Here in the land of reality, facts are facts.

    Of course it’s true. Obama was quoted as saying that BEFORE the ACA was ever passed.

    And yes, I know how much Right Wingers would love to change history to make it conform with their absolutely false narrative and their prejudices. But facts are facts.

    FACE the facts.

    Conservatives can whine, moan, equivocate, prevaricate, protest, fib, distort the facts, and roll their eyes . . . But that doesn’t change the truth.

    Get used to it and accept the FACT that Conservatives had plenty of opportunity to shape the ACA, but they chose instead to try to just shoot it down.

    . . . Which was a VERY poor decision.

    “Conservatives” have only themselves to blame for the content of Obamacare.

    Your false narrative only flies in that alternate reality of Right Wing La La Land.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 7, 2014 7:19 p.m.

    The lines are clearly drawn. It's time for each American to choose a side. Does the government have the authority to require a business to fund the destruction of life? If so, who gave that "right" to government? The Declaration of Independence requires government to protect and to preserve life. When was an amendment passed that turned government against the most helpless among us?

    Does government have the "right" to declare war on the unborn?

    Does government have the "right" to require a business to fully fund pills that will destroy human life - if those pills are used as prescribed?

    If you really think that the government can require a business to do that, what guarantees do you have that the government will not require a business to "help" the aged to cross over into eternity?

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 7, 2014 8:11 p.m.

    All of us understate what the government does now. Government controls what you eat, drink, wear, learn, what business you can operate, and most all of the health care you receive. As a matter of fact, every thing that is done, built, consumed and experienced in the United States of America is permitted, regulated and controlled by our government. And it's all for our freedom and safety.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 7, 2014 8:12 p.m.

    The problem with the idea is that individuals, left to their own, will make bad and uninformed decisions regarding health care. Given the option, many of them wouldn't pay for any of it, but they then become a problem when they run to the government in an emergency room because they believed they'd never need health care of any kind.
    We all need health care sooner or later. It's the legacy of our humble origin; we're born to fall apart.
    That's why we need a single payer system.

  • Light and Liberty St. George/Washington, UT
    July 7, 2014 9:10 p.m.

    It is obvious that some, read Ulta Bob and Hutterite, either don't believe in free enterprise or don't understand it! It is as if Socialism were magically planted in our midst as the pinnacle of human achievement and Capitaiism had nothing to do with America's economic miracle. I think it is ingratitude of epic proportions and ignorance on an unprecedented scale! I am grateful that I am a teacher in high school and can unashamedly educate students on the difference America, under the power of morality, free enterprise, and the greatest charter of freedom the world has ever known, has made on the world stage. Socialism, immoral people, including those who believe that abortion and gay marriage are something to strive for as virtuous and grounded in liberty, don't have anything to do with America's greatness. Those who believe Government is the grantor of our rights are either uneducated, or don't believe in "government of the people, by the people, and for the people."

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 7, 2014 11:16 p.m.

    L&L, I most decidedly do believe in capitalism, no matter how you spell it. It pays my bills. It enables me to profit from transporting goods from free America to restricted America. It makes my fireworks display last friday better than the neighbour's. But I also know enough about people to know that a lot of them, and I know that I'm in danger of generalising here, are not well enough informed to make decisions such as health care coverage for themselves. They end up becoming a burden on government by default, at the emergency room door, as a result of these poor decisions. As someone who has first hand experience on a day to day basis with a national single payer system, I can tell you it works. It doesn't compromise freedom or impose socialism as you claim. It just makes sense. And, in spite of your bluster, it seems to be the moral thing to do. Oh, and by the way, thinking back to high school, don't overestimate how much you're indoctrinating students. They're going to be their own people, gay marriage accepting and all should that be the case. Goodnight.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 8, 2014 7:58 a.m.

    Some things are best done by free enterprise but some things are done better by the Socialist scheme of people working together.

    Business is a necessary part of society of civilized, it provides for the sharing of talents and wealth to the members of the society. Neither free enterprise nor Socialism can do the proper job alone.

    Free enterprise should be used for the optional, individual established needs of society. These might include entertainment, recreation, clothing, cars, houses, food, etc. Free enterprise allows the provider much latitude in the presentation and advertising of a product, sometimes free enterprise overdoes this when it creates the need itself. Health care should not be provided by free enterprise.

    Socialism is best for the society's needs when the individuals capability cannot protect him from dangers of the world. This includes, military, law enforcement, standards and measures, coordination of individual rights and freedom and anything else, the people of the society decides they want their government to do, within its capabilities.

    America is great for a lot of reasons, free enterprise is just one of them.

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    July 8, 2014 9:09 a.m.

    The idea to take the employers out of health care is a good one in concept. But there are problems including how does one make sure that the employee actually purchases health insurance. Even if the employer was to augment wages for that purpose, how do you mandate that those funds will actually be spent for health insurance? This would be a good thing for employers because over time their health care costs will become fixed, but how many will just take advantage by using the funds for other needs (especially minimum wage workers) and still end up in the emergency rooms? The best approach would be to go to a single payer plan, taking the profit out of health care insurance costs and eliminating the religious issues. The government could set up a charge back schedule that would take into consideration individualized medical needs. What you have then, is Medicare for all.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    July 8, 2014 9:34 a.m.

    GaryO

    Since you are so hung up on "facts", please provide us all with one.

    Name one thing the GOP has proposed (with Obamacare, immigration, tax reform, etc.) where Obama actually listened, considered it carefully, and compromised. Anything?

    Obama complains all day long about how the Congress is obstructionists because they won't give in to his demands. Where has he given an inch to the wishes of the other half of the country?

    (And don't respond with the typical far-left rebuttal of how some left-wing agenda item was really a GOP idea.) We have already heard a hundred times how Obamacare is really "Romneycare" or some other idea this president rammed through was kind of like something a conservative think-tank said a decade ago. Tired arguments.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    July 8, 2014 9:58 a.m.

    In cancer, unlimited growth of some cells becomes a danger to the whole organism. Unfettered capitalism is the very definition of cancer, where some "businessmen" and companies take more and more and more to the detriment of the whole system.

    Look at the influence Big Pharma and Big Insurance has over the entire healthcare system - openly buying lawmakers and laws, openly trading executives to sit on government oversight panels and then taking them back into the company when the appointment is over. Our healthcare is the most expensive in the world, with much of that money going to big corporations, not patient care.

    Capitalism must be restrained and curbed and controlled, and moving capitalism out of the health insurance business may be the best way to provide better healthcare for all Americans.

    Job-related-health-insurance went national when wages were frozen during WWII. It was a work-around by business to increase compensation. Now, it is a monster that has lead to the SCOTUS ruling that courts can identify acceptable "sincere religious beliefs."

  • Light and Liberty St. George/Washington, UT
    July 8, 2014 10:20 a.m.

    Hutterite: with all due respect, based on your statements, you do not understand Socialism. I think a more honest approach would be to admit that you think Socialism is good, then you won't be stuck in a patronizing situation saying either you are alright with not making people accountable, or that you are going to solve their problems for them, which seldom if ever works. If you, or anyone else, can't see why freedom and choice are important for both the long term and short term consequences, it is of no use to discuss it. As far as "indoctrinating" students, I must say unequivocally that telling them the truth is not indoctrinating, it is giving them the truth so that they can make a choice, hopefully one that will protect what makes every person noble, freedom,