ICYMI: Phil Bredesen’s health-care fix should worry any business owner, taxpayer or patient

Americans for Prosperity Action Senior Advisor Tori Venable | Knoxville News Sentinel

Back in the day, saloons used to offer a deal: a no-cost midday meal—with the purchase of a drink, of course. The cost of all that food had to be covered somehow. And so, the saying was born, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

It’s as true for government programs as it was for 19th century pub grub. Someone always pays for the “freebies” politicians offer.

Case in point, the single-payer health care plan that U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen supports.

But Bredesen’s “fix” should worry any business owner, taxpayer or patient in the Volunteer State. He wants to take choices away from doctors and patients and put them in the hands of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington.

This new one-size-fits-all government-run health care system would cost trillions of dollars, as Bredesen acknowledges. He says a 33 percent tax on incomes would cover it but realizes that nobody would be willing to impose such a levy on hardworking Americans. So, instead, he proposes a 19.3 percent federal payroll tax to be split between employer and employee.

Bredesen would create “the American Medical Standards Panel” to go diagnosis by diagnosis and come up with a uniform standard of care, which would be published in what he calls, in an irony that apparently escapes him, “the Red Book.” The panel would also establish a mechanism to measure health care providers’ conformity with those standards.

Higher quality customized care would still be available, Bredesen allows, but only for people who can pay out of pocket — in other words, the wealthy.

This is not an idea we want Tennessee’s U.S. senators to be pushing in Congress.

We need leaders who respect the sacred relationship between doctors and their patients and understand that together, they make the best health care decisions; who recognize that cutting red tape and getting bureaucrats out of the way will allow medical providers to innovate and make quality care more affordable; who know there’s no such thing as a free lunch; and who realize that sending more money to Washington isn’t a cure for anything.

Tori Venable is a senior advisor to Americans for Prosperity Action in Tennessee.

Click here to read the full op-ed.