‘Government option’ not the only way to reform health care
September 10, 2009
To the Editor:
Like so many others Ms. Muftic, in her recent column, gives the impression that those who oppose the “Government Option” don’t want any health care reform at all, or that there is no reform without it.
The fact is that the town hall participants and the Republicans are just as anxious for reform as the Democrats. Many elements of the bills in process are generally agreed to by all. Among these portability, coverage of pre-exisiting conditions, vouchers and some form of mandated coverage. Two of the sure-fire cost saving ideas the Republicans have proposed have been ignored by the Democrats for purely political reasons, namely tort reform and interstate competition in the sale of policies. Tort reform, in addition to reducing malpractice insurance costs, would likely reduce much of the “defensive medicine” currently practiced. A bill containing all of the above would constitute major reform, without the danger of creating a huge new, sure to be costly, bureaucracy.
Two items mostly left out of the discussions are taking advantage of the low cost clinics opening up around the country, including those at Walgreens and WalMart, and creating a prompt and efficient means for compensating healthcare providers. The insurance industry can and should deal with these issues.
Medicare and Medicaid are not good examples to use for what a “Government Option” might be. They have far exceeded their original cost estimates, and their forced down rates for fees and services only transfer costs to the private sector. To add another government agency with forced low rates of remuneration would only further burden the private sector.
Muftic says, “…the public option is always having a cheaper plan from which to choose.” It would be cheaper because the government proposes to control fees like they do with Medicare. How is that fair competition, and wouldn’t that soon take over the system?
The term “Health Insurance Exchange” the Democrats keep talking about is just plain meaningless. If there is a government plan, there is a government plan. It’s in the marketplace or it’s not. What “Exchange?”
Let’s do the reforms we have some confidence in, and avoid going down a road that has proven costly in the past and will be all but impossible to control.