Monday, July 13, 2009

Weekly Opinion/Editorial
by Steve Fair
Fresh off a victory on Cap and Trade, Speaker Pelosi’s next objective is to tackle government run health care. There is no denying the price for health care is up, but much of that is due to a third party paying the bill and the insured paying the health care costs for the uninsured.
According to a poll conducted last year by the Center for Disease Control, forty four million Americans or about fifteen percent do not have health insurance. According to Health Affairs, seventy five percent of all health care dollars are spent on patients with one or more chronic conditions, many of which can be prevented, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, lung disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. Studies have shown that when patients with chronic diseases focus on their health and get involved in their own care, their health improves and health expenses decrease.

Government requires providers treat medical emergencies, so no one is turned down if they need health care, so many Americans roll the dice and let the government- you- pick up the tab when they go to the emergency room. Last year, the government paid over one third of the health care dollars spent in America. If effect, we already have a major segment of the population on government run health care.

To fully understand the health care industry problem, you need some history. In 2007, Jonathan Cohn, a senior editor at the liberal New Republic, wrote a book entitled, Sick: The untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis- and the People who pay the price. Cohn’s conclusion, which is shared by most liberals, is, “capitalism cannot deliver decent health care.” Cohn is wrong, but he does provide an interesting history of Blue Cross in the book. The “Blues.” were essentially nonprofit health insurers who provided catastrophic health care coverage for a tax break. They kept premiums reasonably low and charged everyone the same. But private insurance saw a huge market and jumped in during the 1940s, which has created the third party billing mechanism mentioned earlier.

Before the Dems start nationalizing the health care industry, they should keep in mind that personal responsibility is the real long-term answer to the health care cost issue. People should be responsible for purchasing their own health care, not the government or their employer. If they have to write a check every month to the insurance company and to the doctor for what the insurance doesn’t cover, they will take more equity in their health.

State legislatures should pass bills that would allow the creation of private health non-profit co-ops to be formed-assistance clubs or a similar option for those so inclined. Oklahoma just passed some measure of tort reform, but we need one with penalties for frivolous lawsuits and the loser paying some of the costs.

In May, US. Senators Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) and Richard Burr (R-NC) and U.S. Representatives Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Devin Nunes (R-CA) introduced health care reform legislation called “The Patients’ Choice Act of 2009.” The act would encourage prevention by requiring the CDC to promote healthier lifestyles. It would also create an incentive for states to reduce their rate of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

Dr. Coburn said, “As a practicing physician, I have seen first-hand how giving government more control over health care has failed to make health care more affordable and accessible. The American people deserve health care reform that will work, not another round of so-called reform that repeats the same failed policies of the past. Congress and the administration have the opportunity to pursue bold reform and a fresh start. The Patients’ Choice Act will provide every American with access to affordable health care without a tax increase, more debt and waiting lines.,”

Coburn and Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) are the only two physicians in the Senate. They have an on-line video on the health care debate which can be accessed at

The Democrat plans for health care reform are cost centered as opposed to patient centered and will cost much more than Speaker Pelosi, Senator Reid and President Obama will admit. Their solution for everything is to add another entitlement program. With a national debt that has increased by thirty percent in less than six months, we can ill afford government run health care.

1 comment:

Otter said...

I like the idea of this Patients' Choice Act. I am going to read more about it.