09/18/07 — Health care costs: Rhetoric is in for health care reform, but will plans work?

View Archive

Health care costs: Rhetoric is in for health care reform, but will plans work?

It is as easy to predict as the heat that comes with summer and the rising and setting of the sun.

When it comes time to talk politics and nominations for president, certain issues just seem to be on everyone’s lips.

And this year, in addition to the war in Iraq, candidates from both parties are starting to offer their takes on health care.

And rather than waste time arguing — let’s concede the point — something is wrong with our current system. It costs too much for employers and workers. It is too accessible for some and not accessible enough for others. It is damaged by abuse and waste from a variety of sources. And there are plenty of shortages and land mines for those who must operate the systems as well — Medicare, nursing shortages and the need for more doctors in some areas, to name a few.

Now, all that said, the truth is that this country’s medical system allows unprecedented access to care for the majority of Americans. Unlike some government-run systems, simple procedures do not have a wait time. If you need an MRI or outpatient surgery you get it — no waiting list required.

So while there might be a need to look at insurance, costs and abuse, there are some aspects of our healthcare system that are working quite well.

As the months continue to tick off and the presidential nominations get closer and closer, there will be lots of theories, speeches and — frankly — balderdash spouted about what is necessary to make health insurance and care accessible to as many Americans as possible.

Remember as you listen that there is not one soul speaking who really knows what the answer is. So, if healthcare is important to you as a campaign issue, pick the one who admits fallibility and acknowledges one of the little discussed facts about “free” healthcare and insurance.

Misuse of services as well as increasing uncollected fees are helping boost your insurance rates and healthcare costs.

Don’t believe it? Spend the night in an emergency room. You will surprised to see how many people are there with afflictions you would have taken to your family doctor. And how did some of them get to the ER? You guessed it, ambulance. If you have ever traveled by ambulance, you know, it isn’t cheap.

This is just one example of the real facts behind the healthcare hype. It is not just a problem fueled by greedy insurance companies and mismanaged care as some people would have you believe.

So, start work on healthcare reform and new insurance programs. It is OK to listen to any and all ideas.

But before we commit to a new “plan” let’s make sure we have someone in charge who understands the game — and what is at stake.

Published in Editorials on September 18, 2007 11:38 AM