Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

April 24, 2010

What America really needs is health care cost reform

What America needs is health care cost reform. The health care reform act doesn’s address that. The predominate reason that the uninsureds do not have coverage is the cost of it. The current plan does not address costs.

Hospital confinement costs, such as room and board, miscellaneous expenses, and surgery and laboratory costs will not be reduced. There are no enforceable cost containment provisions in these bills. That’s not the impetus of the bills. Read the new law, then read it to your congressman.

During the past 25 years, all health care reform has been centered on the payer of costs; the patient and the financer of costs.

This is another example. The current plan just reallocates who pays the costs. It doesn’t matter how costs are allocated among patients, employers or the insurance companies and the government, if the elephant in the room, costs, are not reduced.

 In fact, the aggregate cost of care will rise as a result of this passage as it has in every previous expansion of government in the reform.

Consider Maryland’s Health Insurance Reform Act of 1993. Health care choices reduced dramatically and costs have tripled, Mr. (Sen. Ben) Cardin. Or how about Massachusetts, Ms. (Sen. Barbara) Mikulski. The state’s overall costs on health programs have increased by 42 percent since 2006. Three years! Three nonprofit providers in Massachusetts are virtually bankrupt and lawsuits abound. All costs will rise with this scheme, as well. The reasons are simple:

1. The bills broaden the scope of coverage including abortion.

2. The bills do not address adverse selection.

3. The bills encourage over utilization for minor care.

4. The bills create new excise taxes.

5. The bills create hungry regulatory intermediaries including additional IRS positions.

The only reductions that will occur are Medicare reimbursement levels, which are already below reasonable and customary levels. For those who do not understand economics, it must be made clear, that the government does not pay for anything, including health care.

Regardless of the channels involved, all health care costs are paid by the taxpayer. The current health care proposal is a Trojan horse.

Once it is broght into the community it will stealthfully erode personal choice and personal freedoms. It is tremendous redistribution of income, assets and rights. The biggest losers are the “greatest generation,” the people who have us everything: today’s Medicare beneficiaries.

I encourage seniors to stand up to this absurd power grab in November.

Clarence Murray

Ridgeley, W.Va.

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