Opinion

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Letter on letter

There is a

responsible solution

While I empathize with Fran Moyer’s emotionalism (“It is imperative health care be a right,” Reader Sound-Off, May 8), proclaiming health care as a right is workable, setting us on the path of other nations, who do such things as grant housing a right and enforce it by making those out of power homeless because there is a finite supply of housing. Immutable economic laws will rise up and bite us. Supply must be balanced with demand. Otherwise, we would suck all of our economic activity into health care because the demand, when some one else is paying for it, is infinite.

From what I recall of what Jack wrote (“Do you really have a right?” April 17), he missed the boat too. Providing health care for the disadvantaged is a responsibility not to be ignored.

She well wears the cloak of demagoguery by casting insurers as the villains when blaming them for setting prices for each and every procedure. It was Medicare that introduced us to diagnostic codes in the 1960s. It’s Medicare and Medicaid that set rates so low that providers refuse these patients and others risk prison for fraud. Some steal because the system lacks incentives of the private sector to catch cheaters. There is an unlegislated tax on every private payer in the form of costing shifting from government plans.

Here is my recipe for meeting this responsibility. Establish a pecking order of procedures both from highest to lowest priority as well as amounts allowed. Funding would come from current amounts appropriated for federal and state care such as Medicaid, supplemented by additional appropriations. The cutoff would be determined by the level of appropriations. Participants could opt for different tracks. This would end the special interest game of enacting mandates because each procedure would have its place.

With any great expansion, expect glitches. Countries with single payer systems stretch the limits by rationing schemes. For example, some 750,000 Canadians are currently on a waiting list for medical procedures. In addition, 3.2 million Canadians are waiting for a chance to see their primary care physician and, once diagnosed, they wait an average of 17.3 weeks to see a specialist. This is common because demand outstrips supply of providers.

Remove the trial lawyer from the equation by establishing an insurance system like we do with worker’s compensation coupled with an independent quality control system that corrects for errors and incompetence in providers and institutions.

Change the tax law to give a tax deduction to whomever pays the premium/bill. Provide tax incentives for wellness activities. Require insurers to exclude people with individual coverage from counting toward participation. Encourage individual plans with a range of benefits as rich as group plans. Encourage plans with side savings accounts so as to move more people onto insurance plans and away from welfare plans with first dollar benefits.

Allow as many choices of plans that the market can support. Changes in society, science and technology can best be maximized by allowing the creative destruction of our economic system to evolve to balance cost pressures and medical advances.

MATT RYAN

Bremerton

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