solutions part 1

While I certainly agree with the left that conservative Republicans need to do a better job of promoting what health care policy alternatives they may have, I don’t believe that there are compromises that could be made with H.R. 3200.  If we are serious about health care reform, then we must tear up this particular bill and start over.

What are the stated objectives of the Democrats’ attempts at health care insurance reform legislation?  As far as I understand it, there are two – to reduce costs AND to expand coverage.  Are any of their suggested reform measures capable of achieving these somewhat contradictory objectives?

I will attempt to summarize Dr. Arthur Laffer’s research on health care insurance reform by saying that he doesn’t buy into the Democrats’ current plan to reform our health care system. He has concluded that these Democrat proposals would not adequately address the primary problems with the way we use and provide health care coverage in this country. The research he has done points to a significant shift of health care costs from the private sector to the public sector, and a decreased accountability for the consumers of health care in relationship to its cost. The cost of health care continues to rise because as long as a third party pays the bulk of the freight for a person’s medical care, there isn’t much incentive to shop around for the needed service at a more reasonable price or to pay out of pocket for anything that could be provided for “free” through our health insurance plan. This is the situation we have with our health care system now. The price of health insurance for the average American continues to increase, and this is a serious problem for those who are uninsured. But what the Democrats are proposing will put those who have health insurance coverage at risk of losing that coverage in order to insure the relatively small number of folks who are in serious need of health care coverage.

From the national overview section:

Fifty years ago, almost $5 of every $10 spent on health care was paid through patient out of pocket expenses. Since then, total out of pocket expenditures have plummeted – today, only about $1 of every $10 is funded by individual patients through out-of-pocket expenses. – See source.

“Health care reforms based on President Obama’s criteria fail to address the fundamental driver of health care costs – the health care wedge. The likely impact from the combination of generous federal subsidies and a new public insurance option is a significant reduction in people’s incentives to monitor costs and a significant increase in the costs of administering the public program. The growing health expenditure is strongly correlated with inflation in medical costs. Reforms based on President Obama’s priorities can thus be expected to weaken the health care system and increase medical price inflation.” – See source.

This is just common sense.   Increased public spending on health care has not reduced its cost.  Any new proposed public spending on health care will continue to widen the gap between the cost of care and the accountability for that cost, which would be shifted to federal and state governments instead of to the patient / consumer and medical professionals.  It is pure foolishness to suggest that the federal government has any incentive to keep costs under control, and even if they were inclined to try to do this,  should these kinds of decisions (about what treatments / medications / surgeries we can receive under national health care insurance) be in the unfeeling hands of a bureaucratic creation such as the Health Choices Administration?   Any reform that takes control over medical choices from the patient / doctor / hospital and gives it to a government agency is not reform at all.