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Obamacare is a distraction from health care’s high cost

Published: Fri, March 28, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

Obamacare is a distraction from health care’s high cost

I wish I had a business like any of these.

Imagine a business with a product mandated by the government to be purchased by all. Or, how about a business so necessary and so expensive that people opt to die without it, and in many cases will die, rather than bankrupt their survivors. Then imagine being an insurance company, medical specialist, or pharmaceutical provider. Cha- ching!

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is a good idea (health care for all) badly rendered (financially insupportable) thanks to political posturing by hacks more interested in positioning their respective parties for power than in developing a system for cost-effective care of citizens.

At least insurers, health-care providers, and pharmaceutical manufacturers work. This generally cannot be said of Congress, which increasingly holds itself to be an entitled “ruling class” with self-serving objectives to be achieved between vacations.

Obamacare makes a great red herring to detract from the central question about health care. That question is not “who should pay?” It’s “why is health care so expensive in the first place?” which should be the first topic tackled to address the problem.

A good start may be making “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us” by Steven Brill in the April 4, 2013, issue of Time magazine mandatory reading for citizens and legislators alike.

The article explains in detail why medical bills are the gold standard for sticker shock; how health care is financed for the indigent; why “nonprofit,” as applied to hospitals, is misleading, at best; who gets how much of a markup on pharmaceuticals formulated decades ago; and the role of Medicare in limiting care charges.

Armed with this knowledge, public debate about how to provide the best care possible, for the lowest cost, without negating reasonable profit as a motive and without regard to whether ideas generated are “conservative” or “liberal” can begin.

Then maybe we can stop marching like lemmings toward ill-considered policies with deductibles exceeding their yearly cost and still find competent medical care and effective pharmaceuticals without sacrificing food, housing, and education to pay for them.

Jim Cartwright, Canfield


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