Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Health Care Reform - Do it Now

The Republicans, conservatives and the health care industry are mounting a major push this summer to block health care reform. They are repeating many of the same arguments they had stored away from the Clinton attempt at reform and adding new crazy ones - "Obamacare wants to kill the seniors."

One of the repeated arguments is the crazy flowchart of the new health care system. Guess what? The existing health care system is even more of a maze. The dueling flowcharts are shown here.

There is a lot of stuff out there but here is a relatively simple way to look at it, from part of an email I sent to a concerned relative.

Our current health care doesn't work and the spending for health care is out of control while fewer and fewer people are covered and even
those who have insurance find a major health problem leads to
bankruptcy. America health care costs are 40% higher than the rest of
the industrialized world with worse results because 40% of the dollars
goes to insurance company profits, marketing and overhead not
connected to caring for people.

Contrary to government waste stories you hear the least expensive health
insurance in America is Medicare where there is only 2% administration
costs compared to 40% administration and overhead costs for private
insurance companies. The private insurance companies in America also
have every financial incentive to provide the least care possible and
find excuses to deny care.

No one says we can keep the current system, even large businesses now want to set up new plants outside the country so they don't have to provide health care so they can reduce costs. Toyota had a choice of building a new car plant for America and chose Canada over Alabama and saved about $2500 per car because health care insurance is a government program and not an employer program.

We have the most expensive health care in the world. The system is
great for those who can afford it. That is fewer and fewer people and

How to reduce costs? I think there are four choices.

1 You could go to a 90% socialized government system like England,
France or Cuba. Hospitals and doctors would be government owned and
there is one tax to cover it. Very well off people might find a
private doctor or hospital.

2 You could go to a single-payer system like medicare with private
doctors and hospitals but people have the option of going to those who
take their Medicare card with low co-pays. If they have more money or
have a better job they can still use private insurance.

3 You could do nothing and ignore the more and more people without
health insurance and hope you can afford the costs that double every
5 or 6 years.

4. You could try a more complicated mixture of public options and
cost containment measures. That seems the Obama approach.

I prefer option 2, pretty much "a Medicare for all" option. This is called single-payer but I doubt we will see anything much like it.

What do you prefer?

You might see a lot of stuff on TV, in the mail or in emails. The
health insurance industry is lobbying hard to stay one of the most
profitable parts of our economy and Republicans want to see Obama and
the Democrats fail at any new plan.

There is a new blog - which covers how health care reform will help you in more detail. The cost of doing nothing is staggering - the average family will pay more than $10,000 more in premiums within 10 years if we follow the do nothing, know nothing party. We have to make a choice and do something.

(Note - even while I was posting this the well-organized, very well funded anti-reform groups had a false media watch dog group against health care reform advertisement pop up.)

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