Health-Care Reform Plan Debated
Our Readers Who Comment express great skepticism this morning about the news that health-care industry groups are promising the White House that they will use "efficiencies to trim the rise in health-care costs by 1.5 percent a year," as Michael A. Fletcher and Ceci Connolly report.
The promise comes, of course, at a time when President Obama has placed health care reform at the top of his agenda and reform seems to have some political steam behind it. But many of our readers distrust the collection of interests representing doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and others, seeing it as a cynical effort to protect the status quo or at the very least to control the outcome. These readers want a single-payer plan (read government) that works for much of the rest of the developed world.
And in a related story, we learn from Dan Eggen that a former hospital chief executive has become a "prominent leader" in opposing government-run health-care programs. Taken together these stories have generated more than 500 comments about an issue that affects all of us.
We'll start with stanbarkley who wrote, "I get a warm fuzzy feeling when I know that big insurance comanies, big pharma, big hospitals and the medical profession are going to be looking out for what is best for me. There are some bridges for sale that I will sell to anybody who believes this is reality."
But ccdaley said, "The most inefficient system is one in which providers (hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, therapists) have to master the rules of over 500 insurance companies...It is time we faced the truth that we can easily save money and increase efficiency with a single payer system..."
Aprogressiveindependent wrote, "The Obama administration should be cautious and probably hesitant to accept this "offer" from special interest groups, which have in the past usually opposed expanded health care. Sounds like could well be a Trojan horse...This is a test of how guillible the Obama administration is, whether they seek health care reform that sounds good or actually works."
st50taw said, "If there was ever a bridge for sale, this is it. The health care industry is getting religion in the foxhole. As if they're believable. The minute our attention is turned, they'll find another way to hose us. Don't bite, Democrats. Fix it right the first time. At the least, provide a public alternative so there will finally be some actual competition."
dailykos1 wrote, "These liars only react to pressure and as soon as nobody is watching they will go back to screwing the country and the patients. I am sure their new "initiative will inclde wage cuts to the lowest paid people in the food chain. another mercedes benz for the insurance guys and doctors."
pbarnett52 said, "The Health Care masters of the universe are making this promise out of the left side of their mouths. The right side is busy setting up rehearsals for Harry and Louise."
Otech21 wrote, "This seems dishonest and a reaction to changes they know are coming. Honest would have been to control costs and not allowed so many fall into bankruptcy due to ill health. Honest would have been to create affordable plans for the currently uninsured years ago... Face it, some things need policy - i.e. government to drive our needs."
knowscience said, "...The bankers stole taxpayer pensions so the Obama Administration rewarded their crimes with our tax revenues. Now they are putting Dracula's Private Health Care Insurance in charge of the national healthcare system. Get ready to be sucked dry my fellow Americans."
Ptoadstool wrote, "Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of insurance and health industry executives like "single-payer", if uttered anywhere near Washington. It's the only way to real savings, and would be an excellent way to have a healthier population and make American industry more competitive."
To which Realist20 replied, "Nothing strikes fear into Americans when they hear single-payer system which means government run health care after the way Fed Gov has run the Postal system. Does anyone with a single brain cell really want the same people that can't run the post office efficiently to run our medical system - if this happens our tax rates go above 50%."
riskpref said, "This unstated plan is like Nixon's plan to get out of Viet Nam--empty promises for public relations, to delay. All of the backing groups are afraid of the surge of interest in a single-payer coverage."
mbmclaughlin wondered, "If they're offering this as a starting position, imagine how much more could actually be saved with real reform. This is aimed squarely at the centrists who are looking for any excuse to put off restructuring health-care in this country. Let's hope they surprise us for once and don't take the low ball offer."
oracle2world said, "...So the wealthy will continue to get great healthcare, and the poor will do better, and the middle class will take it in the shorts.
The system can't be fixed because old people are not dying. And they vote. And I sure as heck don't want any changes, since I'm getting old too!"
We'll close with slim2, who wrote, "That's a good start, but not good enough. Private health insurance is so last century. In an age of globalization it's time whats left of America's middle and burgeoning lower classes reap some benefit. That benefit needs to be universal single payer. An idea whose time has come."
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