Printed Letters: July 6, 2017
Health market system leaves some behind
Wednesday was a red-letter day on the opinion page of the Sentinel. We have three local “experts” explaining how the big, bad government is at the root of, apparently, a non-problem.
First, I think most people in the medical care business will tell you that Medicaid and Medicare prices are too low. Why do certain doctors want to limit the number of people on these programs in their practices?
Second, do we or don’t we want to ensure that everybody is covered by medical insurance? If not, some people will die or suffer greatly for lack of help. There is always the ER, you say? That is the most expensive way to end up with everybody else paying the bill anyway and the coverage is minimal and generally not detailed enough to really solve the problem.
Third, the market system is working and it leaves out some people getting service because of cost. In addition who has the most and best medical knowledge? Are you ready to bargain with them? The doctors of course and their charges, if appropriate, are too much for some. As a culture do we shrug and say, too bad? Are all those who can’t afford insurance lazy and shiftless and their conditions are of their own making? Serves them right?
Fourth, the ACA was assembled based on certain assumptions. They didn’t work out because too many younger persons didn’t want to participate in the risk pool. Some seem to want to make it a simple case of Democratic/government incompetency. Now we are about to find out how the objectives of the ACA can all be accomplished completely, better and cheaper. They said it could be done.
So, do we care if the country with the best medical competency and equipment can make it available for the entire citizenry or are we still going to rely on “you can have as much of anything that you can afford?” That’s the way the market system works. Is it a problem that it leaves some citizens behind? If it is, what private institution will take the lead to include everybody?
Eliminating sugar would improve everyone’s health
In Tuesday’s Health & Wellness section, an article concerning the increase in obesity in most of the world concluded, there is “no singly simple solution for the problem of overweight and obesity.”
Sugar, and other hyperglycemic foods, is the main reason for this epidemic! The sugar industry is acting just as the tobacco industry did 50 years ago when it claimed cigarettes did not kill people. Sugar is highly addictive.
A common sight is a family of very large parents with large children each consuming a 32-ounce pop. At every special occasion there is sugar in some form. It is everywhere.
Sugar affects almost every system in the body in a negative way. If sugar was eliminated or minimized, everyone’s health would change for the better. I challenge people with health problems and/or being overweight to eliminate sugar and you will see amazing changes for the better.
ACA’s problems attributed to Republican sabotage
Wednesday’s three “health care” letters all raise pertinent points, but entirely ignore the reality of the “free market” system that immediately preceded (and arguably necessitated) enactment of the Affordable Care Act.
Phyllis Hunsinger maintains that “Health care is best solved by the free market” and blames Medicare for upward pressure on health care costs. However, in contrast to other developed countries, the primary cause of the “imbalance between value and cost” in our health care “system” is the “free market” profit motive that drives the business decisions of health care providers — including doctors, hospitals, and the pharmaceutical industry. Prior to the ACA, even “conservative” experts predicted that rapidly rising health care costs would render “the best health care in the world” unaffordable to all but the wealthy and/or adequately insured.
Marcia Neal is only half-right in arguing that “We need to repeal Obamacare and fix health care system” — because repealing the ACA does nothing to “fix” anything. Neal forgets that the ACA was subject to 14 months of public hearings in the Senate alone and incorporated over 100 Republican amendments. However, having vowed to obstruct President Obama at every turn, cynical Republicans all voted against the bill that embraced their own amendments. Since then, the ACA’s ongoing (but readily solvable) problems can all be attributed to Republican sabotage and their deliberate perpetuation of uncertainty for health insurers.
Finally, while Michael Higgins is correct that “No piece of legislation will solve health care quickly,” he apparently doesn’t realize that the ACA has actually reduced deficits below what they would have been under the pre-ACA “baseline” to which he would revert. The ACA reduced projected and actual deficits by generating Medicare savings, most of which was reinvested in extending access to health care to millions of uninsureds. The Republican “plans” cut/cap Medicaid to fund more tax cuts for the already wealthy — when increasing those taxes would enable comprehensive “fixes” to Obamacare.