President Barack Obama declared national emergency powers regarding the H1N1 virus. It’s explained that he did so to clear bureaucratic red tape associated with providing emergency medical care to supply more responsive care to patients in desperate need of treatment. How thoughtful.

Watching panicked crowds rushing to receive vaccines, the thought occurred to me that Obama’s declaration points out an essential truth regarding the current health care reform debate.

Whose "bureaucratic red tape" does the executive order curtail? Why, it’s the federal government’s "bureaucratic red tape" associated with current "public option" insurance: Medicare.

If federal red tape stands in the way of providing responsive medical care to patients, then why do we want to impose more of it? Why do we need more government bureaucrats involved in private decisions that should remain between you and your doctor? Logic dictates that effective health care reform requires less government involvement!

How much is spent administering this cumbersome, government-imposed paperwork that is standing in the way of supplying responsive care? If the red tape is not necessary, couldn’t we pass the savings on to the medical consumer by removing the government from the process?

If a "public option" is meant to "increase competition" in the health insurance industry, then why not just eliminate government restrictions on interstate sales of policies and remove government-mandated coverage from policies? That would increase competition in the market without taxpayer funds and reduce costs. Why can we buy car insurance from several companies across the U.S., but buy health insurance only within our respective states from a few companies? And why must we pay for government-mandated riders to that coverage we don’t need or want?

If we’re serious about reform, get the government out of the medical business. Constitutionally, it doesn’t belong there.

John WilsonBaghdad

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