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.