Letters to the Editor

Focus on need

August 17, 2009

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To the editor:

Rep. Tiahrt’s claim that we have the best health care system in the world and expanding the federal role in it would ruin it (Journal-World, Aug. 14) needs examination.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development tabulates data from 30 countries. Health indicators for the United States are: We come in 24th in life expectancy, have the sixth-highest incidence of low birthweight for newborns, are first for obesity and first for severe psychological problems, with almost half experiencing some form of mental illness during their lifetime. Americans mostly claim to be healthy and happy, but data would indicate otherwise.

We pay more for less. We cover about 80 percent of our population, with limited coverage on millions more, but pay 17 percent of our GDP for health care. According to the National Coalition on Health Care, most industrialized nations pay about 9.6 percent with 100 percent coverage.

Currently, polarizing political harpies tout “death panels” and other distracting fantasies regarding health care choices. Others disregard civil behavior (politeness and decent respect) for rudeness.

May I suggest we focus on what we need? Do we want 100 percent coverage? If not, who should be excluded? Do we want to contain health care costs? What administrative structure will best achieve this? What are our cost goals? Should we look at a single-payer system for possible options?

It is obvious that name-calling (“Socialist!”) is not going to improve health care delivery or costs. Hard work examining lots of data and making compromises is needed instead.

Comments

jayhawklawrence 6 years ago

"Hard work examining lots of data and making compromises is needed instead."

I could not agree with you more.

The bullies who are screaming down reasonable discussions with their campaign of fear are just making me remember why I hate bullies so much.

Stu Clark 6 years ago

mac,

Your link doesn't work, but since the National Review is a "conservative" publication of opinion, it is not surprising that they would publish an article supporting the status quo.

jonas_opines 6 years ago

Polarizing political harpies is a good term for some of them. I wonder, if the politicians or pundits who lied or knowingly repeated disinformation were forcefully evicted from this conversation, would we have any left?

jaywalker 6 years ago

Stu,

While I don't disagree with what you're trying to get to overall. relying on those stats or really any stats attempting to rank us vs. other nations is pointless. Someone else brought up the life expectancy argument recently and cited the CIA World Factbook, I think it was called. I checked it out. In that reference the U.S. came in 50th against all nations with life expectancy at 78.11. Number one was Macau at 84. And not one of the nations in front of us has even 1/3 our population. I've been saying for years that we're easily the fattest country in the world. And the most obese segment of our population? The 'poor'. Still tryin' to wrap my mind around an oxymoron like 'portly paupers'. But the obesity stems from a number of factors; from fast food to pre-made, high fat and salt dinners at the supermarket, to the fact we're the most well fed nation in the world with the most variety available for diet. I don't know what low birth weight translates to, but I haven't heard of it being a serious problem. And the mental illness thing............I mean, come on. How on Earth could that be changed by healthcare reform? I don't buy those numbers anyway, half our population? That's nuts, pun intended. And I'm willing to bet those numbers spring from the incidences of doctors prescribing anti-psychotics like they're giving out Pez for anything from insomnia to people asking for 'em 'cuz they want the buzz.

100% coverage is an admirable goal, but it doesn't solve the problem. The problem is the high cost of health care. Seven bucks for a Tylenol if you're in-patient? That's airport and ballpark pricing. That's where the 'reform' needs to take place and until they focus on the real issue this is all masturbation. Our government has been robbing Peter to pay Paul for far too long while ignoring the inevitabilities. People complain about how we subsidize farmers without realizing if we didn't they'd have to pay $7 for a potato. And who else pays their farmers NOT to plant or allows produce to go rotten in the silos? The systems our government has put in place over the last 50 years are self-defeating. Social Security? Excellent, noble idea. The government promises not to borrow from it? Too big a temptation to resist (robbing Peter to pay Paul) Now it's near bankrupt.
We can't trust them to take the reins on healthcare, too.

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

4 substantial reasons why Medicare Insurance for All should be the choice for all in america

  1. *Eliminates Politicians as shareholders: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/12/AR2009061204075.html

  2. *Eliminates Paying More Getting Less http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/0508harrison.html

  3. *Eliminates Leading Cause Of Bankruptcy http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/bankruptcy_study.html#ixzz0IQKZLHHh&C

Why use Medicare? It eliminates reinventing the wheel therefore saves a big bundle of money and time = efficient use of existing resources.

Medicare is in place therefore it is ready to roll which is convenient. The only major change necessary is reimbursement numbers which the author and the 87 cosigners are perfectly aware. They are also very much aware of what the inefficient insurance companies pay out on invoices which is never full invoice. Insurance companies usually pay out about 50%-60%.

The USA needs to STOP being be the most expensive insurance/health care of the industrialized nations if americans want jobs back.

HR 676 Medicare for All insurance coverage is key to creating new wealth for america.

The most expensive health insurance in the world is not the answer for keeping business costs down and keeping our cost of living somewhat in check.

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

When John Conyers of HR 676 speaks of preventive health care he speaks in terms of education and what we can do for ourselves. Some people keep bringing up free health care. NOT John Conyers the author of HR 676. That is ludicrous.

John Conyers HR 676 author talks real life affordable which is what an employable USA needs. The USA needs to STOP being the most expensive health insurance/health coverage in the world. That distinct honor is killing our economy.

HR 676 is the one that would be best for large and small business plus individuals. It is by far the most practical and comprehensive AND the best bang for the buck. It should be amended to allow for the choice to be HR 676 or one from the industry. Let the people make the choice.

HR 676 has been been around for years therefore has been tuned up and refined. No matter what number is attached in the end this is what consumers and business should go for.

Why use Medicare? It eliminates reinventing the wheel therefore saves a big bundle of money and time = efficient use of existing resources. Medicare is in place therefore it is ready to roll which is convenient. The only major change necessary is reimbursement numbers which the author and the 87 cosigners are perfectly aware.

They are also very much aware of what the inefficient insurance companies pay out on invoices which is never full invoice. Insurance companies usually pay out about 50%-60%. The USA needs to STOP being be the most expensive insurance/health care of the industrialized nations if americans want jobs back.

HR 676 Medicare for All insurance coverage is key to creating new wealth for america. The most expensive health insurance in the world is not the answer for keeping business costs down and keeping our cost of living somewhat in check.

Consider the USA as the only major industrial nation that does not provide health insurance/health coverage for its' people

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

Why are members of Congress protecting the most expensive medical insurance in the world? Isn't that being a bit fiscally irresponsible or stupid?

It is down right stupid to fight FOR the most expensive health insurance in the world.

In simpler terms there is no future in it and why in the hell do people say they want they most expensive health insurance in the world?

notajayhawk 6 years ago

Lots of crack babies born in those countries you're comparing us to, LTE-writer? Same number of people smoke? Drink? Use drugs? Same amount of fast-foods consumed per capita? Climate about the same? People exercise as much, work in buildings with the same amount of lead paint and asbestos?

There is no - I repeat NO - reliable objective measure of healthcare 'output' (i.e., what we get for our dollars) between systems. None.

If our healthcare system is so bad, stu, why is it so hard to find a medical student in this country who speaks without a foreign accent?

notjustastudent 6 years ago

Well I guess if those statistics don't prove anything (I won't say they do) then some guy telling me the opposite doesn't prove anything either.

notajayhawk 6 years ago

notjustastudent;

What is it that you think they prove? Or that they're even capable of proving?

The statistics say one thing - that people don't live as long here as they do in some other places. Period. Anything beyond that is conjecture. Maybe, if you are a student at all, you should take a course or two in statistical analysis and learn that for yourself.

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