Saturday, August 08, 2009

Sarah Palin's & Charles Krauthammer's Health Care Vision

"The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."

Sarah Palin, on Facebook.

Conservatives have used their scare tactics. No one will be denied health care because of their lacked of productivity. There is zero evidence of this. Palin and other astroturfing organizations want to keep spreading the myth to kill support of health care reform.

47 million Americans are denied health insurance, either because of money or medical conditions. Jacqueline Ruess had laparoscopic surgery to see if a growth was ovarian cancer. Her insurance company dropped her.

But four months after Ruess's medical crisis passed, she faced a financial one. The Insurers Administrative Corporation (IAC), the company in Phoenix that managed Ruess's health care policy, completed what it says was a routine review of her records and discovered what it called evidence of a preexisting gynecological condition.

Because Ruess had not disclosed the symptom on her application, her insurer said she had never been eligible for coverage of gynecological problems. The result: Ruess was on the hook for the cost of her surgery, which, including doctor and hospital bills, amounted to more than $15,000.

Ruess was flabbergasted. "I was — please forgive me for lack of a better term — pissed off," she says. What IAC called a preexisting condition was a one-time notation in her file regarding "dysfunctional uterine bleeding" — that is, irregular periods, a common issue that at some point affects between 10 percent and 30 percent of women in their reproductive years. At the time she experienced erratic periods, Ruess had lost her husband and her father had died, too, which is why her doctor attributed the symptom to stress.

What happened to Ruess is becoming far too common. President Bush and Republicans were against increased SCHIP funding. Millions of children would be without health care, if it wasn't for SCHIP. Fewer employers are offering health coverage to employees' children. These kids have no other option.

Millions of Americans getting dropped from private health insurance isn't about offering life. This is about putting the interest of the health insurance industry over the welfare of American citizens. Charles Krauthammer's grand scheme is tax credits and tort reform. This would do absolutely nothing to help the uninsured. Krauthammer is revising the John McCain health care proposal. I blogged about the McCain plan: "Employers would have less incentive to offer health care." Krauthammer wants to end employer sponsored health insurance, without offering an alternative.

There is no logical reason to get health insurance through your employer. This entire system is an accident of World War II wage and price controls. It's economically senseless. It makes people stay in jobs they hate, decreasing labor mobility and therefore overall productivity. And it needlessly increases the anxiety of losing your job by raising the additional specter of going bankrupt through illness.

Krauthammer's proposal would save health insurance companies and employers money. American citizens are going to have a financially harder burden getting health insurance. Employers pay part of health coverage and can cut group rate deals with insurance companies. People will pay more getting health insurance on their own. The most likely outcome is less people with health insurance. Krauthammer can keep his reform.

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At September 07, 2009 10:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If 51.4% of people qualifying for Medicaid enrolled in the program, and if 6 out of 10 who qualify for the SCHIP program would use it, then the number of uninsured would decrease dramatically.

By the way, my daughter - like I once was - is among the tens of millions of healthy young Americans who choose no health insurance, although they can afford it.

Some honesty is needed on both sides of this debate.

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