2009-08-21 / Letters

Obama's Healthcare Reform

Dear Editor,

It is deplorable, the degree to which the major media has been derelict in its duty to report on what may be the greatest socio-economic shift this nation will face in our lifetime. I am speaking of the healthcare reform being proposed by President Obama under the all too familiar banner of "crisis." He is pushing to pass legislation, which was written in mere weeks, that will permanently restructure the healthcare of this nation of 300 million, an industry which has been leading the world in healthcare innovation and standards for nearly a century. However, he is keeping important information from Americans.

First, the "47 million" uninsured figure is hugely inflated by false information. An independent analysis by the Heritage Foundation of census figures on which the uninsured numbers are based determined that approximately 20 million of the "uninsured" are at income levels twice the national poverty standard (about 40 thousand a year for families of four). In other words, these families could purchase healthcare coverage, if only major medical, if they chose to.

Approximately 9 million of the "uninsured" are already insured under Medicaid. Approximately 7 million of the "uninsured" are not citizens of this nation and are thus subject to another sovereign nation's healthcare plans. Finally, approximately 3.5 million of the "uninsured" are children eligible for one of the government sponsored (Medicaid/SHIP) plans should their parents take the time to enroll them. That brings the number of uninsured down to about 7 million individuals. The question then arises, do we need to restructure the nation's healthcare and spend one trillion dollars we don't have over the next ten years to accommodate 2% of the population or do we work within the existing system to insure these individuals at a fraction of the cost?

Second, the President is not addressing the true problem of cost increases in healthcare; he is purposefully avoiding the issue of Tort (civil suit) reform, which is corrupted by slip and fall lawyers who use the legal system like a lottery and drive up malpractice insurance costs, bankrupt municipalities and lead to the increased costs of "defensive" medicine where doctors order expensive tests just to cover themselves against a lawsuit. He is not addressing the enormous fraud and abuse in the healthcare industry itself. New York spends more on Medicaid than California and Texas combined when these states have more than double our population. He is not considering insurance reform. HMO plans which were supposed to save the government money only resulted in making these HMO plans rich with profits on healthcare dollars. Pharmaceutical industry reform is now underway, but only because the President has threatened to leave them out of the new national health plan. He is not considering the very smart and workable idea of Health Savings Accounts, a concept which works by putting your pre-tax health care dollars in your hands to be used as needed. He understands the biggest secret not being discussed in Washington, that most individuals below Medicare age are healthy and only need occasional medical care and preventive care check-ups.

Third, cost in healthcare can be addressed by increasing competition and opening the state specific health plans to nationwide coverage options, allowing plans in California to compete with plans in New York or Florida. The President's proposal is to finally allow this type of competition, but only when the taxpayer funded national plan is instituted, the effect of which will be to wither private plans and force citizens into the government plan. The private plans cannot compete with the giant, taxpayer subsidized government health plan. President Obama knows this, but he still states that you will be able to "keep your health plan." This will be hard to do once it is no longer available and your employer has jumped to the cheaper government plan. In fact, it may be mandated due to new proposed health plan guidelines for coverage. More government mandates to add cost.

Fourth, the head of the Congressional Budget Office as well as the world renowned Mayo Clinic have come out this week in stating that the President's national health plan proposal will not decrease healthcare costs in America but will in fact increase costs. We now begin to see why this is being considered a "crisis" by the President and his staff. The crisis is that he is not getting the big government control and societal restructuring he wants to enact soon enough for dinner.

Finally, the President proposes to improve healthcare by cutting Medicare/ Medicaid reimbursements to doctors and hospitals and increasing their patient load by 47 million individuals. This is going to improve healthcare in America? Would your job performance increase if your employer told you that beginning tocontinued morrow, you will be getting a 20% pay cut and have " to increase your productivity? Not to mention that you are not able to unionize (by law) as you are a physician. President Obama has not mentioned how the new burden of 47 million persons will be addressed by an already stressed hospital/physician/ nursing industry. What is going unsaid is the rationing of healthcare which will be necessary to institute the drastic changes being proposed.

President Obama has proposed the wrong prescription for America, and we may all be forced to swallow this bitter pill.


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