Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Thoughts on Health Care "Reform"

I posted this earlier today on a message board, and I liked the wording so much, I thought I'd share it here...

First off, let me say that while I oppose the Health Care bills that passed the House and Senate, I do support health care reform. There is a big difference.

Something I hear a lot of people saying is that American should be ashamed to be the richest country in the world, and not provide health care to its citizens. First off, while America is well off, I wouldn't call us rich right now. Think of someone who has a Mercedes parked in the driveway of their mansion but doesn't have money to pay their bills. Are they rich? It's not that America has no money as a nation, it's that we have less than no money. Universal Health Care right now would be akin to the guy with the Mercedes taking out his credit card and booking a monthlong vacation to Hawaii. He doesn't have the money for it, and neither do we.

Secondly, I hear that there are 46 million uninsured Americans, and that number is very misleading. First off, approximately 10 million of those are illegal aliens, and shouldn't get government sponsored health care (which they won't in the bill) or any other support from the government, what with them being illegal and all.

Over half of the 46 million have a household income of over $75,000 a they could afford insurance if they really wanted to make it a priority. Do you want your tax dollars going to a family making $75,000 a year, but chooses not to buy insurance?

There are already 83 million people in America that receive some sort of governemtn assitance for health care, and approximatly 14 million qualify for medicare or medicaid, but haven't applied yet.

I also strongly believe that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and un-American. Never before has the federal government, or a state or local government, told us how to spend our money. Before someone brings up auto insurance, bear in mind that you don't have to drive, therefore you aren't required to carry auto insurance. Under both the House and Senate plan, you will face a fine if you choose to not carry insurance.

A lot of people who argue for the public option point to the "fact" that medicare is more efficient than private insurers because they spend less on overhead and administrative costs. That's true...sort of. If you look at total expenditures, yes, federal health care progams spend a smaller percentage of total expenditures on overhead...however they spend sigifigantly more than private insurers when you look at it on a per patient basis. Simple fact is, most people on medicare are expensive to insure, due to their age.

Tort reform needs to be addressed. Either on this thread or on another one on this forum, someone stated that awards from malpractice suits aren't a large part of medical costs. But when you look at malpractice insurance, the costs are staggering. One neurosurgeon I know who practices in Manhattan pays $350,000 a year in malpractice premiums. He's never had so much as a complaint against him. Granted, as a neurosurgeon, his premiums should be higher than say a family doctor...but $350,000???

I reccomend setting up sort of an arbitration for tort reform. When someone feels a doctor is guilty of malpractice, they go to a team of arbitors, make their case, and the team would make a recomendation, either malpractice is possible, or not really. If they find that it's not malpractice, it can still go to trial, but the plantiff would be responsible for defense fees should they lose.

I'd also like to see insurance companies be able to operate across state lines. It's common sense that if you expand the competitive market substantially, prices will come down.

As for abortion funding, while I'm pro-choice, I firmly believe that federal money should not fund elective abortions. In the bill that passed the Senate, states would be able to vote on wheather or not to allow people who recive federal subsidies to purchase a plan that covers elective abortions. This is an end run around the Hyde Ammendment, plain and simple. I'm all for abortions being covered in cases of rape, incest, or if the mother's life is at risk. It's sort of funny that with the "botax" elective cosmetic procedures are taxed, but the Dems in the House and Senate are fighing to get elective abortions covered.

And now just today, it was announced that a tentative deal has been reached on how to pay for the plan. The House wanted an increased payroll tax on people making over $500,000 a year. I'm fine with that...however, the Senate wants to tax so called "Cadillac" health plans, which they value at $8,900 a year for an individual and $24,000 per family. These plans will be taxed at a rate of 40%! They also annouced that unions would be exepmt from this tax until January 2018. Unfortunatley, I'm not a member of a union, so my health plan, which has a total value of roughly $9800 a year will be taxed...leaving me to either pay a tax liability of almost $4,000, or switch to a lower cost plan, leaving me with more co-pays, deductibles, and higher prescritions costs.

Dems have said that it's likely that employers will switch to lower cost plans for their employees, and pass along the savings to their workers in higher wages. Presidnet Obama and his wife have railed against greedy corporations for years, long before anyone knew who they were, and now they're going to trust them to "do the right thing"

The system needs to be tweaked, but despite what people say, a large majority of Americans have health care, or qualify for it but choose not to carry it, and a vast majority of Americans are qualified with their health insurance.

These bills contain vast over reaching by the federal government, and I see it as the start to a single payer system, which are riddled with horror stories from Italy, the UK, and Canada.

I'll close with a few of my favorite quotes, which seem to fit in here: "You don't need to amputate a leg to fix a broken toe" Also, Will Rogers once said "It's a good thing we don't get all the government we pay for" And me..."The Dems wanted health care reform in the worst way..and that's what they're getting"

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