Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Health Care Reform Naysayers Offer “Dumb” Reasons to be Afraid

Here’s one of the dumber conclusions pushed by opponents of health care reform: AP-“Congressional leaders say the bills would cut costs. But experts are dubious. Instead, they point out that covering the uninsured would cost billions.”

Brilliant. Covering people without insurance, those not able to pay, will cost more. Duh! The point is, of course, is to give them health insurance coverage now. The savings to the system would come after treating preventable illnesses early, so we don’t end up spending more money later, or losing the patient entirely. Allowing insurance premiums to triple in cost over normal income growth is not only ridiculous, but unsustainable.

“Our health care system is engineered, deliberately or not, to resist change. The people who pay for it — you and I — often don’t realize that they’re paying for it. Divvy that up, and health care will cost the typical household roughly $15,000 this year, including the often-invisible contributions by employers. That is almost twice as much as two decades ago (adjusting for inflation). It’s about $6,500 more than in other rich countries, on average.”

Let’s face it, when the public finally has affordable health care, the Republicans will look really bad for trying to block it. “Republicans have actually come out against doing research into which procedures improve health.”

“In some categories, like emergency room care, this country seems to do better. In others, like chronic-disease care, it seems to do worse. So far, no one has grabbed the mantle as the defender of the typical household — the opponent of spending that creates profits for drug companies and hospitals at no benefit to people’s health and at significant cost to their finances.
Lobbyists have managed to convince congress to write poison pills into the proposed heath care reform bills.

“One proposal would pay doctors based on the quality of care, rather than quantity, but it’s a pilot project. Doctors who already provide good care may well opt in; doctors providing wasteful but lucrative care surely will not. The bills would also finance research on which treatments are effective. But Medicare officials would not be prevented from continuing to spend taxpayer money on ineffective
With these reform “safety valves,” true reform will fail, giving Republicans the chance to say I told you so.

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