Breathlessly reported by the Austin American Statesman is a report showing that — gasp — health insurance premiums rates have risen 39.7 percent since 2001. Of course, state government has grown more than 30 percent since ’01 but the Statesman doesn’t seem bugged by that. And, of course, the preferred solution to the rising cost of health insurance premiums is more government. As a friend of mine jokes, if you think health care is expensive now, wait until it’s free.

And that’s precisely what the merry band of Marxists at the Center for Public Policy Priorities (or CCCP) are advocating. They’ve launched a new initiative to get more kids signed up for the various government insurance plans. So, let’s get the facts right here: liberals hate the George W. Bushs and Rick Perrys and Tom Craddicks, but they want everyone’s health insurance to be controlled by those guys?

Look, I know all three men, and like them a lot personally. But I sure don’t want Rick Perry — or any other politician — deciding what care is appropriate for my kids. That’s exactly what the liberals want: more people under the thumb of government.

That real human beings yearn to be free boggles the leftist mind. Freedom is never found at the end of a yoke — physical or economic.

Back to the Statesman article. The report notes that something like 60 percent — another gasp — of families who could get government subsidies chose to not do so. The unstated solution? Spend more money advertising, and grow government!

It never occurs to a liberal that Texans would rather be a little poorer in the short term and a lot more free in the long term with the opportunity to be wealthier, than to be poorer for life and always less free. The British have rotten teeth because they have “free” government dental insurance. Canadians don’t have access to cheap generic drugs because they have “free” prescription benefits.

Why is health insurance so expensive? A lot of reasons, but most are found at the doorstep of Congress and the Legislature, where public policies have taken customers out of the equation and allowed prices to be set outside the natural forces of the marketplace. Here’s a good place to start for some solutions.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."