Thursday, September 10, 2009

Getting To the Truth

The information below is from an article in the Wall Street Journal.

Obama is trying to overhaul health care without being able to tap into widespread public unhappiness. Nearly nine out of 10 Americans say they have coverage—and large majorities of them are happy with it. Of the 46 million uninsured, 9.7 million are not U.S. citizens; 17.6 million have annual incomes of more than $50,000; and 14 million already qualify for Medicaid or other programs. That leaves less than five million people truly uncovered out of a population of 307 million. Americans don't believe this problem—serious but correctable—justifies the radical shift Mr. Obama offers.

Let's see what that looks like in a pie chart:

It's just 2% of the population.

Just a few questions for you and your Congressperson to consider:
Do we really need a “trillion” dollar overhaul of the health care system?

Could a relatively simple approach such as “assigned risk” in automobile insurance be similarly applied to “citizens” who can’t otherwise qualify or afford health insurance?

Instead of nationwide, government run treatment standards and a large number of special interest provisions, should Congressional legislation focus on incentives to increase the supply of doctors and nurses and facilities, and incentives to increase the successful, low cost regional models (eg: Mayo Clinic; Northern CA Kaiser; Grand Junction Colorado fee-for-service approach)?

Shouldn’t Medicare and Medicaid reform focus on eliminating fraud and waste rather than challenging medical judgments and customary fees?

Why isn’t Congress considering comprehensive tort reform that shields medical practitioners from malpractice claims when they act in good faith with regard to patient care? (Seems to me we aren't going to attack unnecessary costs without doing what we can to remove the fear of making a mistake.)

Instead of getting into the health insurance business as a competitor, why doesn’t the government take steps to increase insurance company competitiveness by eliminating mandatory coverage’s and permitting marketing across state lines, with appropriate regulation to avoid bad products?

What about retaining or increasing tax incentives to keep employer contributions in the game...perhaps with better portability?

Let’s forget about political legacies and focus on defining the problem and thoroughly debating alternative solutions. Let’s take the time to get it right.

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