The spiraling costs of health care, combined with the aging of our population, are driving the country’s long-term fiscal challenges, which can only be addressed in a bipartisan way. Unfortunately, many proposals being offered by those in the Democratic Party involve moving to universal health care under a nationalized system. That is absolutely the wrong way to go.

Having the government run the U.S. health care system will lead to some very significant problems. First, health care services would be rationed, as shown by the long wait times for care experienced by people in Canada and Britain, both of which have nationalized health care systems. Second, innovation would be reduced. It is estimated that if U.S. implemented Canada’s single-payer plan, funding for R&D would be nearly 25 percent lower and nearly one-half of the drugs approved by the FDA would not be available as a cost control measure under a nationalized system. This would basically limit the availability of drugs and the development of new drugs which are used to cure people. Third, taxes would increase dramatically. For example, shortly after Canada implemented nationalized health in 1967, taxes rose drastically.

What is the end result? People end up paying more of their earnings to the government, for a less efficient and innovative health care system, which delivers rationed care, but it also means that productivity in those countries is not as high because they have a higher tax burden.

The better approach is the bipartisan bill, the Healthy Americans Act, offered by Senators Wyden and Bennett, which is to create an atmosphere where everybody has the wherewithal to go out and purchase health care and the private markets are used to do that. While it is not the perfect plan -- I do have some concerns -- I am co-sponsoring it as a first step in the right direction. Instead of turning to the government to run the health care system, this bipartisan blueprint goes a long way towards empowering consumers and the private market to extend coverage to all Americans.