Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dr. Bill Roy: "Health Care Reform: In a Huge Hole and Digging Deeper"

For decades we have watched health care costs grow, knowing at some point the cost will break us all. Today, health care in America costs twice as much as food or housing, and will soon claim one of five dollars.

To control costs Democrats have come up with a plan of unproven parts which, even if passed, are unlikely slow health care spending growth a whittle. They have ignored proven cost control measures, and instead are relying on competition between a presently non-existent--and unlikely--public option and 1300 private insurance companies who presently are claiming 10-30% of every premium dollar.

To solve the other key problem, 47 million uninsured growing at one million a year, they propose to subsidize private insurance premiums for those who cannot afford increasingly expensive premiums.

President Barack Obama did not send proposed legislation to Congress, but rather asked five congressional committees to create legislation, which assured a toxic mix with dangling ideas ripe for bad-faith misinterpretations. The result is the perfect storm.

It defies belief that Democrats want to throw an additional $1.6 trillion over 10 years at a health care system that already costs twice as much as any other nation’s health care system, and yet does a mediocre job of achieving health and longevity.

This is a darn dirty shame because, excepting primary-care physic ians, we have all the human and physical resources necessary to provide the world’s best health care. But, we’re not getting it, just paying for it.

We’re in a huge hole and digging faster.

Why? Because members of Congress are intimidated by angry constituents who are frightened by what‘s in the legislation--and what is said to be in the legislation--and the fear of losing their cash cow, the $2.5 trillion health care industry that finances their campaigns, and provides them with million-dollar jobs after they leave the Congress.

The result: We are the only nation in the world that is trying to build a health care system on private, for-profit health insurance voluntarily purchased by employers for their employees.

We have proved beyond any doubt the system doesn’t work, but we are keeping it because those who profit from it have demonized two excellent health care systems, American Medicare which pays for the health care of 47 million of us who are elderly, disabled, or have end-stage renal disease, and Canadian Medicare that covers every legal resident of Canada and gets better health results than we do with half the per capita expenditures.

And both American Medicare and Canadian Medicare are based on the one characteristic we want most, choice--choice of doctor, choice of hospital and choice to participate in our own care, rather than having our care dictated by profit-oriented insurance companies or bureaucrats.

Canadians have limited the potential problems of large bureaucracies by having each of their 15 provinces and territories administer their own health care system--a very good idea.

The essence of American (and Canadian) Medicare was described last Sunday by Newt Gingrich, former Speaker and current leading spokesman for his party, who said, “Medicare is basically a private system with government funding.”

We Americans overwhelmingly want private care, which we have with our Medicare, and Canadians have with their Medicare. I know from using our Medicare, and from visiting Canada several times to learn from their Medicare.

I came away like the Taiwanese who evaluated the world’s leading health systems nearly two decades ago and adopted the Canadian system for their country, with exemplary results.

We cannot have a Canadian system, but we can have a much better one based on principles of the 1964 Canadian Health Act, advocated by Tommy Douglas, who in 2004 was named greatest Canadian of all time by BBC.

Friday in Montana, President Obama totally misrepresented the Canadian system as being the same as British socialized medicine, and said we want private care. Canadians get private care from private doctors and hospitals of their choice..


Dr, Roy can be reached at wirroy@cox.net.

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