Healthcare Scare

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.

Illegal aliens will receive free health care. – FALSE

A Healthcare Commissioner will decide health benefits for you. – FALSE

The government will fund abortions. – FALSE

The government will force abortions and put sterilants in drinking water – FALSE

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

The healthcare reform bill outlaws private insurance – 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

“Under the Obama plan . . . all the health care in this country is eventually going to be run by the government.” – 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.

5 Responses to “Healthcare Scare”

  1. keith says:

    Jeff,
    You and I could sit down and have a lot of agreement and probably resonably figure this out. Unfortunately it isn’t you and I, it’s the republicans vs the very far left…..

    I actually agree with a lot of you statements above though I believe our circumstances here in the USA are different then anywhere else. An example of this would be from an articule on the front page of the washington post two sundays ago. I followed the cost and results of heart surgery following heart attacks. From 1974 – today. In 1974 is cost $5,000 to the process. Today it costs $57,000. You were going to die something like 35% of the time in 1974 (est) but today that number is around 10%. The rest of the world doesn’t have acces to this prceedure nearly to the level that most if not ALL of us do. So, our costs are much greater then the rest of the world. ANd this was just one example of a procedure that could be repeated to the same way…higher cost that no one else really has the access to. So the total cost numbers can be misleading.

    One disagreement I have with your comments is that the left ABSOLUTELY wants single payer….Obama has made these comments over and over, so has Barney Frank..and others. From the libral point of view it is the ONLY way to reduce costs. What the majority of the population who oppose this is concerned with is incremenatlism.

    A huge problem I have is with Obama. He continues to show up on TV and basicly say nothing. His last even press conference was terrible. He can not articulate a position. This is because he doesn’t have one. He’s leaving this to the house and senate which in my humble opinion is a mistake. HE had the public behind him not those guys. The public likes him but not his positions which polling is clearly suggesting. However, on this HUGE issue he should have taken the lead as NO ONE else but him has a prayer of getting it done.

    Rebulicans have offered suggestions…but its a nice line to say that are just saying no. However I will agree with you that most are just saying NO and that is certianly the public perception.
    This is because most they don’t agree with the entire premiss. I.E. my kid who just turned 16 wants a new car. I say no. There is no alturnitive solution. I don’t want this for my kid.

    Again you and I could do this better then the repubs and far left.

    I agree with Rush on this one. The people want “universal coverage” but it means something different to the public then it does to the dems. The public is afraid of the “event” that causes them to go bankrupt, and very little else. You blogged about this in responses to me. They are not in favor of changing what they do like, their current insurance so say 71% of us, but the big “event” is the concern…….the far left, which I am being more convinced by the day that Obama is a part of, are reaching way to far to think what everyone wants is a complete over haul of the system. This is a huge over reach. A good place to start is by trying to provide for the 12,000,000 who ligidimately cant afford it. I am not interested in the millions who can but don’t, see young people. I know because I was once one of them.

    Again, I am convinced you and I could do more with this then those in DC.

  2. keith says:

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/08/07/white-house-collect-fishy-info-health-reform-illegal-critics-say/

    Jeff,
    The ACLU disaggrees with Obama on this one on a legal basis. (however they give quickly give an opinion which says,,,,but there isn’t anything to worry about after the legality is settled.)

  3. keith says:

    Hey Jeff,
    This is from a very libral writer….I enjoy her coulum because she is total honest, not onesided in her commentary like most.
    I agree with most of this articule, certainly about the repub’s and libs and the whole healthcare thing.

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/paglia/2009/08/12/town_halls/

  4. keith says:

    Illegal aliens will receive health care for free “FALSE.” you are TECHNICALLY RIGHT but “praticely” wrong…here’s why….are are correct to point out the correct reading of the bill which excludes ilegals…..however here’s why thats is not the case. No one will be able to ask to verify citizenship…the dems shutdown in commette two attempts to “verifiy” citizenship but both times it failed…so if there is no verification of citizenship then is really worthless to say “only U.S. citizens will be covered. If health care for the illegal wasn’t the objective then what not a verification of citizenship????

    the gov’t will found abortions through planned perenthood…….and “family planning” what else does that means……Obama is on record MANY, MANY times talking about this….I heard this many times myself……

    end of life….not sure what this bill said but, after SARA Palin talked about “death Panels” all issues regarding this were droppped…I can’t say what as I didn’t read it. BUT muist have been something to her thoughts or nothing would have been dropped.

    also, if one is a citizen then ALL in the family can receive free health care. I.E. mom and dad who are illegal have a son who is born here, thus a citizen, mom and dad and EVERYONE in the family are “in the programs. by estimates this is millions…

    Many will lose there current health care and be forced onto the gov’t plan……if I as a businessman have to pay only a 8% fine on the total payroll of my employees for health care then I would gladly do that rather then pay the costs I currently pay formmy employees…who wouldn’t????if a busness doesn’t they will soon be at a competitive disadvantage to their competitor who did…..MANY will be forced to the public option when their employer drops them and pays the fine…..don’t be disenginuos and think this won’t happen, and in a big way..its unrealistic to think otherwise. I would do this the first day it were an option to me as an employer.

    Jeff, get your arms around what is now happening. Henry Waxmen is asking all the health care companies to give his commette, the U.S. gov’t mind you, an accounting for what they have done with their customers money, or their profits so to speak. You should object to this on many fronts. But try this one….the U.S. govt, which is running S.S., medicare, medicade into bankruptcy and is currently ammasing a short fall of 1.58 trillion dollars this year, and that much or “slightly less”, for the next several years, is asking to review “profitable private sector” companies to see how if they approve of how they are spending their money……THIS IS LAUGHABLE and I’m certain you’s agree.

    Obama has terrible mismanaged this whole issue. As I stated above HE should have grabbed the bull by the horns and made this work, and I believe HE could have got whatever he wanted. He still can but now it will be over the objection of a vast majority of the population. Seems his perchant to vote “present” is stronger then his inclination to lead….(thats also the first shot I’ve ever taken at him I think)

  5. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Lots to say here, but let’s take on the illegal alien issue first. I’ll try to get to the others in the future.

    What we are talking about is insurance for the 40M folks who are too young to be covered by Medicare and not poor enough to be covered by Medicaid.

    There is going to be a process to apply for that insurance just like there is a process to apply for Medicare or Medicaid. A recent study from the AMA estimated that less than 1% of the total Medicaid spend ends up being spent on illegal aliens.

    So unless you can come up with a credible study rather than just speculation about illegal aliens, like so many other claims about healthcare reform, this one too has no basis in fact.

    There have also been a number of studies which suggest that at the worst, the burden of social services provided to illegal aliens washes against the taxes (payroll and otherwise) that illegal aliens pay and which they can’t recover because they don’t file income tax returns.

    If you want an idea of what our society would look like without immigration (illegal and legal), take a look at Japan. They are in big trouble because they no longer have enough young workers to support the cost to provide services for their elderly.

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