Thursday, March 11, 2010

OPINION: ObamaCare Is Not The Solution

The Right Emphasis
By Doug May

The greatest problem facing the country today is the lack of jobs. The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions reports that unemployment payments jumped from 45,000 in May, 2008 to 172,000 in December 2009. Nationally the unemployment is far worse than here in New Mexico.
Apparently the unemployed can wait. The President is taking his campaign to the citizens to put pressure on the representatives in the House to pass the health care bill approved by the Senate last year. In Pennsylvania, Obama implored the people, “Let’s seize reform. It’s within our grasp.”
His passionate appeals demonize health insurance companies for denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. He wants Congress to ban insurance companies for such practices. Actually it is wise and fair for health insurance companies to deny people with existing conditions. It isn’t fair for those who have been paying for years to have to cover the cost of treatment for a new member who has not made any payments. If companies do not do this people will delay purchasing insurance until they need it and premiums will go higher.
Health insurance needs to reflect the risk factors due to age, lifestyle, etc. and to adjust the cost accordingly. The insurance policies need to vary depending on what the individual or family wants. A customer should not have to pay for features they do not want. Often times group policies offered by employers do not provide this option.
The Senate bill requires all but the smallest employers to provide health care for their workers. Actually, there is no need for employers to be involved in providing health insurance. If the government allowed all health care premiums to be fully deducted on the income tax then there would be no need to have employers to provide insurance. They could increase wages and each individual could purchase the kind of insurance that fit his situation best. This would allow businesses to be more productive and reduce the cost of their products and services.
If the employer has to provide insurance for all employees, the federal government could offer health coverage at a lower cost. This would encourage employers to shift all their employees over to the government plan in mass. It is clear from all the rhetoric that this administration wants to eliminate health insurance companies. Obama wants a single payer system and that payer is the federal government. It would not be good if the standards for all medical care was determined by the government.
People would be best served if this Senate bill were defeated in the House and people were given more choices. This could be done in a number of ways:
• By making it possible for people to purchase health insurance from any company in the United States,
• By limiting the amount of non-economic damages that can be paid to a victim of medical malpractice,
• By allowing lower premiums for healthier lifestyles, by providing tax advantages for health savings plans, allowing people to purchase cheaper plans with higher deductibles and pay cash for most medical services. This would make it possible to get lower prices for routine visits, tests and medications by paying cash.
Our cheapest and best option is for each of us to take responsibility for our own health care. We should save for medical emergencies, pay cash when we can, and develop healthy life-styles. We can do reduce costs better than the government can.
It is time to tell our representative that we do not want this 2,700-page health care bill and the single payer government option. Contact Representative Harry Teague at 1007 Longworth HOB, Washington, D.C. 20515; or at or at 1-888-983-2483.

Doug May is a retired Lutheran pastor and his views do not necessarily represent the Mountain Mail

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