Ken's Project Blog

October 21, 2010

In defense of criticism

Filed under: Health Care,Politics — Ken @ 6:31 am

Here is another of my long-winded facebook comments about Health Care Reform – it is in response to someone that called me on the carpet for only being critical of HCR and for failing to understand that the needed reforms will take time.

I leave you with this – I hope you find it interesting:

Jean-Paul, the issue is the Admin & Congress had a blank page to write HCR on, and this is what they choose. Not only will they not publicly defend HCR, they won’t even refer to it in their campaigns! Of course, I understand the long-term goal and the fact it will take a long time to “fix” HCR, but since Republicans and the public were, for the most part, shut out of the process of drafting and reviewing this HCR bill, we have a justifiable right to comment/critique it.

Were I tasked with HCR the very first thing I would have done would have been to implement a single price structure for all medical procedures. Under my plan, health care providers will not be able to have one set of prices for BC/BS, another for Kaiser, another for patients paying cash, and yet another price for the uninsured that require credit/charity. This would go a long way towards mitigating “medical bankruptcies” since the uninsured wouldn’t be expected to pay, say, $10,000 for a procedure that Kaiser only pays $3,750.

I would also keep the single-greatest cost saver for health insurance, the the pre-existing condition exception – but that would also require the existence of a governmental pool to subsidize health care insurance for those blocked from the private market. The exemption would keep private health care affordable, and the public pool keeps people from falling through the cracks. I could imagine defined criteria for transferring “pre-existing” patients to private insurance over time, as their needs go down.

If you step back and take a critical look at the current HCR law, you’ll notice that it’s benefits roll out nicely when held up to election cycles – coincidence? I think not.

We were sold a bill of goods, we were told we could keep our current plans if we want to, but that ignored the reality that every health plan will have to be re-written to accommodate HCR, making it impossible to keep your current plan. The cuts in Medicare reimbursements that are in the law (to make it affordable) will either drive a great many providers from Medicare (the fees don’t cover the cost of providing the service) or will never go into effect (raising the cost of HCR after the fact).

As I explained before every action currently implemented increases the cost of health care coverage, and we see Boeing, McDonald’s and dozens of other large employers being repudiated by this administration when they are forced to tell their employees that the coverage they currently have is either going away or will cost considerably more as a result of HCR law. Then, quietly, the administration will grant waivers exempting those employers from HCR law temporarily. The McDonald’s case is fascinating, because while Press Secretary Gibbs was speaking for this administration saying that there was no truth to the idea that HCR would impact McDonald’s “mini-med” program, Health and Human Services was already working on granting McDonald’s and 29 other employers exemptions from the very law Press Secretary Gibbs said didn’t impact them.

If you get past the “my party is right, everyone else is wrong” position and look critically at the actions and implications of this HCR law vs. what we were promised, you’ll maybe start to understand why so many Americans are opposed to this HCR law.

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