Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Message on Health Care from Mr. Axelrod

I received an e-mail from Mr. David Axelrod and read it in its entirety. If you did not get it, you can read it here. You can even inform yourself via the website for "Reality Checks" and all the misinformation that they see going around. What I still do not see answered is how this will reduce health care costs. I see the bullet point telling me it will save money, but I am still trying to see how it will specifically reduce cost. Go ahead and make it 1200 pages for us detail types so I can understand. I do agree with eliminating the waste and corruption from current agencies. Let's get on with that today. But much of what I read will add cost to the insurance companies and health care system. Requiring insurance companies to abide by much of these ideas/mandates will force them to pay out more than they are currently paying, and we all know how cost increases are handled in a capitalistic world. When fuel went sky high, price of goods being delivered by truck went up. When corporate/business taxes go up, wages go flat (or down) or prices of goods go up (or jobs are lost). When frivolous lawsuits are rampant, reserves or insurance must be maintained to cover these cost and, once again the consumer eventually pays the price. One of two things must happen for these ideas to actually be successful. 1) Insurance companies reduce their profits and must look at ways to preserve earnings enough to stay profitable (shame on anyone in business who tries to make a profit), or go out of business, or 2) the government must subsidize the insurance companies to keep them profitable (they said they plan on stopping or significantly reducing that).

The real myth that I see is that the government will do this without a tremendous price tag attached, even better, with a savings. All I can see is that it will eventually result in higher taxes, direct or indirect, to me that will much more than offset any savings I can hope to experience with my health care bill. Some people will benefit from the health care well fare, but most will eventually find that they have once again been had by big government. By attacking the issues they identify, they do not eliminate cost in the health care system. Read all of them closely and use your own logic to understand why rates are higher for pre-existing conditions, coverage of serious illnesses, different genders for different illnesses, limited lifetime caps, guaranteed renewals, elderly, forced acceptance, etc., etc., etc.

The real issues that would eliminate cost are being swept under the mat in favor of more Barackracy. We must address frivolous lawsuits with tort reform to reduce malpractice insurance rates and the unnecessary CYA procedures that doctors are compelled to order. Heck, there are numerous industries this would help translating into sweeping reform across our entire industry base. We must require interstate sales of policies to increase competition. It made a huge difference on my auto insurance. We must allow people the freedom to choose a policy they feel is best suited for them and deal with the consequences of their own actions. If the government feels compelled to intervene, set up some form of assistance through tax credits are rebates for qualified participants that are truly needy, but I even question the positive effects of that in the long run (look at Medicaid). As the saying goes, “Show me the money”. Let me write off my insurance premiums like employers do with their cafeteria plans, that would help me out. I think I have heard a lot of these ideas mentioned. But where is the bipartisanship we were promised, the change in the DC politics status quo?

I am reasonably intelligent and logical. All logic shows me that there is a price tag associated with this that the CBO tried to inform us on and the supporters are trying to keep from us. Budget neutral my butt. So I did forward it in hopes of finding some supporters who can tell me (us) how these things will save health care dollars. In an ideal world, all of those things sound wonderful, even “too good to be true”. Remember what your mother taught you, if it sounds too good to be true, IT PROBABLY IS! I am open for debate, but bring some meat to the table. Not just feel good ideas. Prove to me that this will not cost money, jobs, or businesses, and result in a need for the government to take over health care like it did many banks, insurance companies, car companies, etc. and I will gladly accept it for the beauty that it is. Otherwise, get your hands out of my pocket. I work for what I have, I am responsible for my actions, I deal with my resulting consequences. So should everyone else.

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