Saturday, August 4, 2007

"AMERICA is at a crossroads when it comes to healthcare."

With the rise of discussion regarding what ails the American healthcare system, there is an avalanche of proposals coming out of the presidential campaign trail.

What is an ordinary citizen to believe and whom to trust?

And be careful not to think too hard about it or you just might be annoyed enough to maybe, just maybe, try to do something about it.

First read: "A free-market cure for US healthcare system."
Op-Ed by Rudolph W. Guiliani, The Boston Globe, August 3, 2007

Then read a comment I posted elsewhere earlier today regarding the same article:

It amazes me that the candidates from both parties do not understand some of the fundamental problems with our current healthcare system.

Guiliani-"Most Republicans believe in expanding individual choice and decision-making."

Too often the argument is for individual choice. I'd like to choose to have the same coverage and protections that our government leaders do, paid for by our tax dollars.

"We need to begin by bringing fairness to the tax treatment of healthcare. The current tax system penalizes millions -- including the rising ranks of the self-employed and 40 percent of employees at small firms -- who pay for insurance on their own and receive no tax benefit."

Wow...someone higher up who recognizes that the self-employed are unfairly penalized as they endeavor to be responsible and seek health insurance.

"If millions of people go into the marketplace looking for less expensive health insurance, it will drive the insurance companies to create less expensive products that meet individual needs instead of government mandates."

I disagree. Just because individuals may seek insurance products in a free-market system, that doesn't mean that price will decline or that insurance companies would be inclined to increase coverage options.

"One of the advantages of our federalist system is that different states can try different approaches to solving problems and learn from each other."

This is a fundamental problem with the current individual health insurance market in which non-group coverage is not required to provide equal benefits as offered by group coverage. And who do you think is consulted by state governments to determine how to establish mandates for individual coverage....representatives of the health companies or their lobbying fronts.

Being self-employed, I have individual private health insurance, regulated by state not federal government, and find that the state is unwilling to direct how "rider" coverage such as prescription coverage is structured. This tiny little detail leaves myself, and others, unprotected from catastrophic drug costs, as the insurance plan stops paying out at $1500 each year while my drug costs to treat MS and RA reach $30,000 each year. And if one believes that PAPs (Prescription Assistance Programs) and non-profits are eager to assist...think again!!

So far none of the candidates seem willing to address many of the root problems associated with the current US healthcare system. The problems go deeper than insured/uninsured, tax incentives/tax supported, private choice/government mandates, or affordability/cost controls. Who truly has the power here? Individuals? Government (employed by the individuals)? Or the Corporations who make the rules?

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