Mt. Vernon Register-News

December 3, 2013

When will politicians get it?


The Register-News

---- — I am going to start this column with some simple statements and a few questions to ponder.

Developed industrial nations have universal health care for their citizens. They also, in many instances, have better outcomes as measured by global organizations.

The World Health Organization and Commonwealth rank us much lower in quality than other nations in a lot of categories. Some of the important categories, such as life expectancy, infant mortality, etc. are ranked lower. The goal of the Affordable Care Act was to provide health care for millions of folks without insurance.

Let’s really put this in language that we all can understand. The cost of health care has reportedly increased over 120 percent during the last decade with inflation increases reported to be less than 40 percent and wage increases below 30 percent. Wonder why health care dominates the news these days? Recent reports state that the cost per capita in the United States is $8,500 per annum with other industrialized countries at $3,800 to $4,400.

When will we wake up and realize that we pay almost double all other developed nations and results in some instances are not as good. We have a problem that can only be solved with huge reductions in cost and continuing improved quality. Other industries understand this.

We reportedly pay much higher drug prices for drugs under Medicare D (drugs for seniors) than other developed nations and get this; reportedly some of the drugs are manufactured in the same location — plant — with a higher price for the United States. Why?

I am going to make this the shortest column I have written with a question and maybe a short summation. Why do our political leaders, regardless of party affiliation, not realize that the problem is we cannot afford to pay double other countries without destruction of the middle class?

Surely, they can see the comparisons as well as you. The recent publishing of prices for common procedures across our country, state and city, along with comparisons with other countries, should provide evidence that this system is not sustainable without tremendous wealth redistribution as the middle class is destroyed.

We do not need more insurance company exchanges, etc. We do not need in-party fighting for ever over health care. We do not need continuous finger pointing and “blame gaming” between the various segments of health care providers. We do not need any more scare tactics of “socialized medicine” outcries when changes are proposed that reduce the cost of health care and improve the quality.

We need a direct pay, single-payer system that reduces the administration cost instead of trying to fund an unsustainable system that is reported to take 30 cents of every single $1 spent on health care in waste. We need stiffer penalties for those who defraud the system for a reported $60 billion per year.

We need to put health care back to the basics of doctors helping patients and not let any special interest group or political fund raiser interfere with this fundamental relationship.

Spending over 17 percent of GDP while the majority of industrialized nations spend 8 percent to 12 percent is a recipe for failure.

We certainly do not pay our folks double what is paid in France, Germany, and Japan, etc., and yet we expect to pay double for health care. This is an equation that will not work.

You can fix this problem with your votes or you can watch the middle class evaporate and our country go backwards.

Vote the ones out that are not committed to change. Do it at every opportunity. Just do it! We are seeing daily from every news media the results of trying to fund a system that is just unsustainable with runway cost.