World’s best health care–Letter to NY Times

The serious deficiency in the Time’s editorial titled "World’s
best health care" is that the Times never once describes how the Obama
administration and the Democrat health care plan including a public option will
lead to improvements in America’s present system. The editorial is limited to
stating that "fear" is to blame for America’s rejection of the Obama health care
plan, and makes unsubstantiated claims that the health care systems of other
countries, like Canada, are more effective than the American system in
achieving better results in selected treatments. No reason to dismantle or make
radical changes in the American system that covers 255 million people or 85% of
the population with sound results,using a private market model.
 
The following points on health care may be of
interest.
 

After spending the night
on a gurney in the hallway of a Canadian hospital after suffering a heart
attack, the Canadian prime minister’s brother said to his brother the prime
minister the next day: “We have to do something about health care in this
country!”

 

Americans
have increasingly acquired both a better quality of life and a longer life span.
These benefits have resulted in part from improved medical technology,
facilities and treatments.  As we now debate major changes in health care, we
must factor in to this debate the impact of these changes on the quality of life
and longevity for all Americans who are now receiving health care
benefits–about 85% of all Americans or 255 million
people.

 

While the new Obama and
Democrat health care reform initiatives should reinforce the trends toward
improved quality of life and longer life spans, such trends in fact seem
to directly conflict with the newly proposed reforms, which will restrict the
treatment options available to individuals i.e. more extensive health care
rationing will result.  Also, when health care is available to the millions of
additional people not now covered there will be a shortage of medical resources
to treat everyone. This significant social cost must be factored into the health
care debate.

 

With an insured population
of 85%, that means about 255 million Americans are currently covered by some
form of health insurance. That leaves about 45 million people uncovered. It is
estimated that of this number about 50% or 22 million can afford health care
coverage but opt instead to self insure. Of the remaining 23 million an
estimated 10 million are illegal immigrants for whom no health care coverage is
required.  That leaves about 13 million
people who truly need health care coverage who cannot afford it. It is these 13
million people to whom society should provide subsidies for medical
coverage.

 

For these 13 million
people it is absolutely unnecessary to spend an estimated $1. trillion plus over
10 years and to turn the existing health care system upside down when a recent
Rasmussen poll indicated that 68% of al lAmericans are pleased with their
existing health care coverage. But that’s exactly what the Obama administration
and the Democrats are promoting, and that’s why vast numbers of Americans are
pushing back with passion in town hall meetings across the country against the
health care reform proposals offered by the Obama administration and the
Congress. These reform proposals include a government run option or co-ops, a
draconian policy toward private insurers that most believe will ultimately drive
them out of business, and deep cuts in Medicare spending that will deprive
millions of the elderly of their present excellent health care benefits. There
is also wide concern that government bureaucrats will intervene to decide what
treatments will be administered to all Americans, and which doctors people will
be able to see.

 

There are major concerns
that a shortage of doctors, nurses and medical facilities will lead to
unreasonable delays in receiving medical care from qualified doctors thereby
seriously disrupting the health care of those Americans currently receiving
care. These are valid concerns which the Obama administration and Congress have
not addressed to the satisfaction of the American people.  

 

This brings us to the crux
of the matter—what kinds of reforms should be enacted to rectify shortcomings in
the existing health care system? 
Legislation is required that will do the following: Eliminate pre
existing condition exclusions in private insurance policies(set up high risk
insurance pools); make all insurance policies portable so that insureds are able
to take their plans with them wherever they go; open up competition for health
insurance between states so that health care insurance can be obtained from
carriers in any state; limit increases in health insurance premiums; eliminate
the life time dollar limitations in insurance policies; enact tort reform to
limit damage awards in medical cases: extend insurance coverage to anyone who is
unable to afford health care insurance through the provision of government
subsidies.

 

The Obama administration and Congress
must go back to the drawing board and devise a private market version of health
care reform as described above.  The
passionate and loud outcry from America is not the voice of an angry
“mob”.
Rather, mainstream
America in the overwhelming majority
is demanding restraint by its government, and that the existing health care
system be protected.


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