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Politics must play no role in health care

Partisan politics kills people. The battle between the left and the right has hampered stem cell research, created an absurdly inefficient system of health insurance and has kept needed drugs wallowing in FDA approval limbo.

People die while solutions get discussed in committee meetings or needed changes get sacrificed to political compromise. The only way to fix America's health care system is to let a non-partisan team of doctors and scientists tackle the problem without interference from the political hacks who ruined things in the first place.

Our current health care system serves nobody particularly well. The poor have no coverage. The middle class have expensive coverage which doesn't cover much, forcing the supposedly insured to fight for treatments that they have already paid for.

The rich might have the resources to get whatever they need, but even those with money are victimized by a system that has made being a doctor a less enticing prospect than it once was. If doctors must spend their money on malpractice insurance and are still vulnerable to being financially ruined by lawsuits, than fewer of our best and brightest will see medicine as a viable career option.

America's existing health insurance system has become so sick that it even fails the people who pay for coverage. My family's health plan costs over $900 a month and it features high co-pays along with a pretty much random system of prescription drug approval.

The current system does not work and neither side has presented a viable option for fixing or replacing it. When we can't provide decent insurance for relatively healthy people in their early 30s for $900 a month, than pretty much nobody is being well-served.

We have neither a free market health care system operating without government intervention nor a government system run with public dollars. Instead of doctors and scientists making the decisions, we have political appointees and pandering elected officials making choices based on staying in power, not the public good.

Under the current system, with George Bush as President, the entire nation becomes hostage to his religious beliefs. Bush believes that certain types of research offend his God, so research that could help paralyzed people, Alzheimer's sufferers and many more remains taboo.

Having a Democrat as president might solve that problem, but it would create a host of new ones. The left-wing desire to offer free insurance for those who can't pay would cripple the system for those of us who can and create huge waits for service.

By making health policy a function of government, we're left with a system that bows to every interest group and fails utterly while trying to please everyone. It's simply impossible to pass science and medicine through a political filter and be left with anything useful.

Democrats make health care a function of their socialist agenda while Republicans seek to tilt the deck in favor of big business. The left wants free health care for everyone no matter who pays for it and the right wants a doctor's visit to be as profitable to the drug makers as possible.

Politicians can't fix this problem and pretending they can only gets us in deeper. Before more people die, we need to throw the whole system out and find something that works. Those answers won't be found in a congressional committee anymore than they will be found in a meeting in the West Wing.

Daniel B. Kline's new book, "Easy Answers to Every Problem" comes out in September and can be preordered at Barnesandnoble.com. He can be reached at dan@notastep.com.

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