More Health Care Thoughts

I was travelling to the office the other day listening to the radio (NPR if you really want to know) and heard a talking head say something that really got me excited.  He was a proponent of a public insurance plan (although I’m not for it – we DO need health insurance reform – especially for small business!) and stated that by having this type of plan it would be competitive because “there would be no profits and other administrative costs.”  And that’s when I lost it and started screaming at my radio – not a pretty site to the guy in the car next to me.

My concern in this dialogue we are having with health care reform is that very few people understand the complexity of the system and only want to talk about generalities – lack of insurance for 46 million; excessive profits; death panels; escalating costs; lack of competition; illegals bankrupting the system – and they only want to talk about their issue rather than becoming informed about this complex tapestry we have woven over the past 60 years.

If you truly want health care reform, here are the key issues which MUST be dealt with:  1.) Uninsured.  Yes, in a fashion we are already paying for them, but there are issues of transportability; pre-existing coverage gaps; purging; opting-out; and social fairness. 2.) Role of Insurance Providers.  Is it their role to “control costs?”  Who should be doing this?  Government?  Individuals?  The Market? 3.) Employer Paid Insurance.  Mandate that ALL employers must pay for some form of coverage OR change the system so that ALL individuals must pay for coverage (AND that includes Congress who has curiously exempted themselves – visit Congressman John Flemming’s site for a poll) otherwise dollars are not moving in a “fair” manner.  4.) Regulate the Medical Industry.  This is going to really upset folks — but if you TRULY want costs controls, then you have to regulate costs – and that means doctors, hospitals (and their staffs), and pharmaceuticals. 

Are we really going get any of these changes?  Not really, but now that Congress is coming back into session, we need to have an intelligent discussion and address some of these critical topics – not just say NO in loud voices.


2 thoughts on “More Health Care Thoughts

  1. A very astute and responsible analysis of the issues, Joe. Thanks for sharing. BTW… I agree with you completly that reform is needed and that the devil is in the details. The private sector is going to have to suck it up and forget as best they can thier indivicual vested interests in the interest of what is best for reforming the whole system. Not too likely to happen.

  2. Just caught this one, Joe. Very astute, and yes, it’s always good to check the touchstone that is …… NPR (gasp). I think by now you’ve seen my internet rant about our health system and the tangled web of government tentacles that seems to infiltrate it and much of what our entire market system does, to our peril. There is no simple answer to the issue as you’ve aptly put, and certainly putting more of the responsibility on those who use it is a start as well as STOP the insurers from canceling people with or without a reason, or denying coverage at all.

    Sadly, somehow it seems that greed’s gotten a hold of our upper echelon’s of govt/bigbusiness, where a salary in the 100’s of thousands is considered “minimum wage/starter pay”. You’d think Gordon Gecko somehow set a new standard, and it was only a movie!

    I think the great divide in our health scheme, and the reason it’s so tough to fix, is that you have such a huge disparity in the “haves” and “have nots”. Government officials have it by “right” (compensation package) and just haven’t a clue……as to what the working man of this country goes through to take care of his family on less than a third of a Senator’s salary. Our Founder’s premise of government’s job as “level the playing field” has become a distant memory.

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