October 11, 2009 |
Late last month, as the Senate Finance Committee labored to produce its version of a healthcare bill, the Republican whip, Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, renewed an old warning. If the federal government intervenes to hold healthcare costs down, Kyl said, the result would be something nobody wants: rationing. "The federal bureaucrats would, in effect, reduce the payment to providers, forcing them to reduce the care," Kyl warned. "It's not the government directly that is actually rationing care; now, we wouldn't want to do that.
July 31, 2012 |
Mitt Romney established universal health coverage in Massachusetts with an individual mandate to buy insurance. But he says he'll overturn an identical system at the federal level. He also has dismissed the idea of a Medicare-for-all insurance system in the United States. Yet the presumptive Republican nominee-to-be is hailing Israel's healthcare system as a model of efficiency and effectiveness. And what do you know - Israel has something like a Medicare-for-all system. Romney praised Israel for spending just 8% of its gross domestic product on healthcare while still remaining a "pretty healthy nation.
April 20, 2014
Re "Obamacare enrollments top 8 million," April 18 As a physician devoted to the care of the indigent, I applaud President Obama's initiative to provide healthcare insurance for uninsured Americans. That reporting enrollments in a federal program is considered front-page news underscores the troubled history of this program. Of far deeper concern is that these are just enrollments. In other words, the hard work has not even begun. With the most expensive healthcare system in the world by an order of 10, and one that has many Byzantine contortions to stymie patients and providers alike, providing cost-effective care to those previously considered uninsurable will certainly stress the system in unforeseeable ways.
May 12, 2013
Re "Medical rates range off the chart," May 9 Our political leaders regularly lament the notion that ever-rising healthcare costs will eventually bankrupt our country. The question is why they treat this problem as if it were an act of God, totally beyond their power to do anything about it. In most businesses the price is based on actual costs plus overhead, profit and other items. In healthcare, the price is whatever ridiculously inflated number someone has the gall to put on the bill.
July 27, 2012
Re "Worries grow as health jobs go offshore," July 25 The outsourcing of nursing-related healthcare jobs is appalling. Though still in its early stages, it's easy to imagine corporate decision-makers chomping at the bit to transform the human body into a commodity subject to the same market forces as a common household object - a blender, for instance. My guess is that someday the idea of healthcare will no longer exist; instead, it will simply be considered an extended warranty.
September 7, 2009 |
The big mystery of the Democrats' loss of the commanding heights in the national healthcare debate is how they managed to let ideologies trump ideas. The difference between these two terms is crucial. Ideas arise from recognizing reality for what it is; ideologies attempt to impose themselves on the real world, whether or not they fit. In this case, the Republican ideologies of limited government, of the free market as the cherished American way and the answer to most problems have taken over the discussion.
May 21, 2013
Re "Cedars stands out for steep pricing," May 17 Casting aspersions on some hospitals for exorbitant pricing gives the impression that some facilities actually "profit" from such practices. Without going into the variances in operating costs among small community hospitals, teaching and research medical centers and university facilities, it must be said that many of these institutions are nonprofits, including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Hospitals need to make money just as any other business.
October 1, 2009 |
When Congress began working on healthcare legislation this year, Massachusetts' universal insurance plan was often cited by Democrats as a model to follow. But as the increasingly difficult negotiations enter the fall, legislators might also study the lessons of California. In 2007, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed covering the state's 6.5 million uninsured residents through a plan similar to the one Massachusetts had deployed the previous year. The California program would have required all citizens to obtain insurance, with the state subsidizing part of the premiums for lower earners.
August 16, 2009 |
When Sarah Palin said that the emerging healthcare reform legislation would lead to "death panels" and government rationing of care, her language was explosive, but her premise about rationing was not. The most critical test of any reform proposal is whether it will empower individuals or impose on them. It is a fact that the leading bills in Congress would increase the power of government and decrease individual freedom. You cannot spend an additional $1 trillion of taxpayer money and reduce the role of government.