Sunday, May 31, 2009

Reforming U.S. health care

Transparency in government hasn't extended to health care reform. Politicians in both the executive and legislative branches talk about reform, but just how it's going to be done hasn't trickled down to the masses. All we know is that the system is broken. All we're told is that it's going to be reformed by the end of the year while there's still political capital, or momentum, to do it. Anyone who questions how health care should be reformed is labeled as a fear monger, deceitful, or defender of the status quo.

Some of the most-balanced information--provided by both liberal and conservative thinkers--I've found about health care reform is here.

Protest funded in part by George Soros

If you're looking for the brand of change advocated by ACORN, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Americans United for Change, Campaign for America’s Future, Center for American Progress Action Fund, Campaign for Community Change, Children’s Defense Fund Action Council, Communications Workers of America,, NAACP, National Council of La Raza, National Education Association, National Women’s Law Center, SEIU, UFCW, USAction, and Working America, go to this site. It's utopian plus being quick and painless.

There are some potential reforms not advanced by the president and Democratic members of Congress such as tort reform, moving the U.S. toward a stronger dollar that buys more, and letting the basic economic laws of supply and demand work. Who pays Medicare write-offs, a prime example of government price fixing? We all do. Costs for services not covered by Medicare go up. Any person who pays out of pocket or participates in a private health-care insurance program makes up the gap. When any person buys goods or services from a corporation or small business, they pay more for those items in order to cover the hike in health-care costs paid by those employers. If those higher costs can't be met by price increases, businesses close or move elsewhere where costs are less.

The U.S. health-care system does resemble one of my father's patched-together, stop-gap fences. It does need reform. Some "reforms" have already been tried--they aren't change. Keeping the nation's rapidly growing debt in mind, government's past reform efforts have failed. I'm indeed a cynic when it comes to blindly trusting the president or any members of Congress, Republican or Democratic, to pull it off before 2010. The only fix I can be optimistic about is to reduce government price meddling and regulation (Can you imagine just what the paper costs that health care providers give us to comply with HIPAA?) so that the laws of supply and demand work.

Reform starts with the individual. If the true costs of going to the doctor, not exercising, drinking sugar-loaded soft drinks, smoking, and all the pills the medicos push become evident, an individual will be at liberty to spend less and live better. That's true change.

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