Sunday, October 11, 2009

Health Care Reform Clarification

I should point out that I am not opposed to health care reform, nor am I opposed to what Congress is working on now. I think it should be passed in whatever form Congress can get it done.

I am just pointing out that what we are doing is not health care reform. It is, at best, health insurance reform, but it is not even that in any fundamental sense. It will extend insurance coverage to some of those who do not have it, but there is little liklihood that it will be even approximately universal.

When legislators talk about the current plans reducing costs, they are talking about the federal budget, not about the prices that Americans pay for health care. Nothing in any of the plans proposes to regulate or address the rates that are charged by doctors, hospitals, clinics or drug companies.

While it purportedly will not increase the federal budget, and some of the ways it proposes that are dubious to say the least, I have strong reason to believe it will increase individual costs for health insurance. Insurance companies are being required to pay out more money and premiums are not being regulated, so anyone that believes premiums will do anything but increase as a result of this reform are delusional.

The panacea of "public option," if it is included at all, will be structured to allow private insurance premiums to increase. Most of the plans so far, for instance, provide that if a person is covered by an employer's plan they will not be allowed to drop that plan and enroll in the public option.

Proponents of this reform are correct in saying that the status quo is unacceptable, but I do not agree that just any degree of incremental reform is acceptable. We are a better nation than this and we can do a better job than this. We must take whatever we can get, of course, but to celebrate this piece of weak tea as a victory is pathetic.

1 comment:

Joseph said...

As a nation we were voted #37 on the World Health Organization's scale, http://www.ourblook.com/component/option,com_sectionex/Itemid,200076/id,8/view,category/#catid107
this is simply unacceptable. The reason European nations have better care, is not based on the treatment they receive, but according to the way they live. Most Italians walk everyday, that is why they tend to have a higher life expectancy than the average American. Most Americans sit at home and watch TV instead of going for walk, bike ride, going out dancing.
A public option needs also would need to be an option. A major flaw in our current health model is the model itself. You go and get the job that has the best benefits and work for 40 years at said job, and retire. This was possible for a select group of people several generations ago, but our world today doesn't have room for such binds. Proper health would be easier for a larger part of the population if they weren't bound by health care. Many Americans hold onto jobs they despise simply because they have a steady paycheck and health benefits, but stress is another leading cause of poor health.
Our societal view of health care starts with every individual and ripples through to the medical industry, pharmaceutical industry, and insurance.

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