Monday, June 2, 2008

Free Market Physician's Response to an Invitation to Investigate the Wyden-Bennett Bipartisan Universal Health Care Bill

My thought- a terrible idea.

Why? It doesn't address the real issues in health care. The real issue is the rising cost of health care itself. America is fixated on health insurance, thinking that solving insurance problems somehow fixes problems in the medical system.

It doesn't, though. Increasing the number of individuals covered by insurances simply continues to bloat the insurance industry. That's just another level of administrators to pay- another hand reaching into the pocket. The addition of a another level of bureacracy can in no way reduce the cost of health care. The rising costs of medical care cannot be blunted by the insurance industry- it can only be further accentuated by the salaries of insurance employees.

In addition, making the insurance required limits individuals' control of their own health care and limits automony of physicians and other health professionals.

Consider the money spent by physicians performing unnecessary tests and procedures covering them from liability and conforming to insurance companies requirments. Now imagine them conforming to the requirments of a government subsidized and controlled insurance industry by which every American citizen is covered. I foresee an astronomical and loss of autonomy and money. I would consider the autonomy (both of patients and physicians) the most shameful of the two losses, since it would be the loss of the true means for solving health care problems.

The plan to maintain employers' contribtutions to 2006 levels is all fine and well, except it presents the prospect of either the federal government (and thus the taxpayers) coughing up the difference between 2006 rates and future inflated insurance costs OR the now federally-funded and embraced insurance industries locking down their reimbursments rates to health care providers. Since medical market economics have been legislated out of the picture, that is a very real possiblity.

Providers are already in a fix as the federal government does not fully reimburse them for Medicaid patients. If the plan goes through, essentially all patients are medicaid, and providers find themselves subject to the whims of insurances companies and senators as to whether they will actually be fully reimbursed. We think, poor physicians, they won't be able to make any money. But the real problem will be, poor America, it no longer has any health care.

The plan is simply a numbers game. The senators from Utah and Oregon say that they can make 2+2=3. But at some point 2+2 must equal 4. That difference will have to be made up.

Rusty Scalpel

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