Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

November 20, 2013

Health care solutions should benefit everyone

While there are serious problems with our health care system, the “Affordable Care Act”  is not the solution. Republicans are correct to oppose it. I served several years on the state board of our professional insurance association. We learned that, in working with the Legislature, you can’t merely oppose legislation. You must offer a possible solution. The Romney campaign’s failure to do so was costly.

Permit me to outline some ideas that could help address the issues of cost and also help the involuntarily uninsured.

• Allow individuals to deduct insurance premiums on their tax returns.

• Allow a person to keep their health care policy when they move from one state to another.

• Allow a person who loses group benefits to have an individual policy with the insurer covering the group.

• Allow alternative benefits that a person losing a job can afford, rather than just the same and temporary benefits under COBRA.

• We need tort reform, not tort elimination. Limit malpractice lawsuits. Establish medical courts. The medical community needs to do much more to police their profession regarding malpractice.

• Strengthen medical savings accounts so that the insured has a stake in the cost of their care. Consumers need to be able to shop for health care and know the costs of what different providers offer. Note the effects in the laser eye surgery market.

• Have pre-existing open enrollment periods, as offered by Medicare, rather than enrollment after the event, like the ACA allows.

• Withdraw mandatory free care in hospital emergency rooms for non life-threatening situations. This is the biggest and costliest abuse.

• Allow insurance companies to offer a variety of programs for consumers to choose, not just coverage mandated by the government (such as maternity coverage). Competition drives down prices.

• Provide liability protection for insurance companies and agents regarding consumers who claim ignorance after signing state approved contracts. Consumers must be responsible for their decisions.

• Open subsidized clinics for the poor and those on Medicaid. Give Medicaid folks spending accounts so that they are responsible for how the money is spent.

I understand that some in Congress are working on these ideas. None of the above ideas require a massive increase in bureaucracy, regulations or the costs associated with complying. The ACA simply is a massive wage and price control project. In the 1970s, (President Richard) Nixon tried wage and price controls and, of course, they didn’t work. The Soviet Union and its former satellites were the premier laboratory for wage and price controls. Human nature will find a way around them. Individuals need to be allowed to make their own decisions, not government planners. The free market works.

Like the system before it, the ACA is full of special deals and benefits for the politically connected. We need solutions that benefit everyone equally. If we can offer solutions and show the public how they can work, people will listen and accept. That will be a refreshing change from the snake oil that has been peddled for the last four years.

David Hansen

Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • Wildfires Wildfires

    The huge woods fire in nearby Pennsylvania shows just how much devastation can take place when a blaze breaks out during early spring. In this case, 900 acres of forest — much of it public game land — became engulfed in flames.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Street flowers Street flowers

    Walk along Frostburg’s Main Street in the spring and summer and one can’t miss the beautiful floral arrangements that adorn the lampposts.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • First base First base

    The idea of spending up to $7,500 for a study about the possibility of bringing a minor league baseball team to the area should at least be allowed to reach first base.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Restore them Restore them

    There are an estimated 47,000 deceased veterans whose remains are unidentified and unclaimed throughout the U.S. A group of senators and congressmen hope to do something to
    bring these men and women some dignity after death.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Support the March for Babies May 3 at Canal Place

    At the March of Dimes, we promise to work tirelessly toward the day when all babies are born healthy.
    The March of Dimes has worked for more than 75 years to help babies get a healthy start in life.

    April 20, 2014

  • Happy Easter

    For the world’s more than 2 billion Christians, Easter is the day that defines their faith.
    The exact date of Christ’s resurrection is unknown, and even the precise locations of his crucifixion and burial are uncertain. This hasn’t stopped some people from saying they know the answer to these questions and others from trying to find out for themselves, or simply arguing about it.
     

    April 20, 2014

  • We concur We concur

    We’re certain that Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, echoes what many Americans feel about the complexity of filing income tax returns.
    When he filed his return, Rumsfeld sent the following letter to the Internal Revenue Service:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Library week

    Public libraries remain one of the best uses of taxpayer dollars. They are open to all. Young or old, poor or wealthy, residents can use computers and read current magazines and newspapers. Compact discs featuring a wide variety of music and
    movies on DVD may be checked out in addition to novels and other books.

    April 13, 2014