There is a lot of misinformation being circulated as part of the current healthcare debate.
In order to have a healthy debate about the issues, you have to start with some agreed facts.
1.Healthcare costs are growing faster than the economy. Both government and private industry are near the limits of what they can pay. As a result, those who have coverage are paying more for less and the ranks of the uninsured have grown dramatically.
2.Our healthcare system is the most expensive in the world but our population ranks near the bottom of industrialized countries in most health measures. In other words, other countries have figured out how to get better outcomes for less money than what we spend. That puts our country and our industries at a significant competitive disadvantage.
3.Every other industrialized country in the world that ranks higher than us provides some form of universal coverage. Those countries with the healthiest populations focus on prevention of problems while our system focuses on treatment of disease.
The current healthcare system in unsustainable. The uninsured end up receiving care in hospital emergency rooms which is the most expensive care our system can provide. Those costs end up getting passed on to the rest of us through higher insurance premiums and taxes. The baby boomer generation is going to bankrupt the medicare system in the next ten years or so.
Status quo is not an option, yet those who oppose proposed changes to the current system have not offered alternatives. Instead, they are spreading fear and doubt in an effort to defeat ANY change. You have to ask yourself why that is, but I can tell you that it has nothing to do with patriotism and everything to do with profit.
Here are some examples of misinformation.
The health care reform bill “would make it mandatory — absolutely require — that every five years people in Medicare have a required counseling session that will tell them how to end their life sooner.” – FALSE
Under a public health care option, 120 million Americans will “lose what they now get from private companies and be forced onto the government-run rolls as businesses decide it is more cost-effective for them to drop coverage.” – FALSE
In order to bring down costs we have to do a couple of simple things.
1.Everyone has to have access to affordable preventative care. The rest of the industrialized world has proven that this works to bring down the cost of care and improve the overall health of the population.
2.Provide physicians incentives to adopt new technology which makes it easier to share patient information between all caregivers. Other countries have also proven that this improves care and reduces cost.
3.Reward those who make choices which reduce their costs of care. The government can’t force anyone to be responsible, but it can provide incentives for those who are willing to make lifestyle choices which reduce their need to use the healthcare system. The healthiest industrialized populations have healthcare systems which focus on prevention rather than treatment.
The government doesn’t have to control the healthcare system. It just has to provide an alternative for those who can’t get coverage through the private system. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It only has to transfer care from the emergency room to the examining room to be successful.
The government doesn’t have to control patient information either. It just has to provide the rules and oversight that make sure that the taxpayer’s investments deliver the expected results.
Finally the government doesn’t have to dictate individual behavior. But just like determining what speeds get the most cars down the road with the fewest accidents, it can reduce the cost of care for everyone by providing information on how to prevent disease and rewarding those who choose healthier lifestyles.