Bad Health Care

Mitt Romney’s lack of accomplishment in reforming health care at the state level is the main reason why the majority of Americans disapprove of his dismal plan on the national level.  Barack Obama based his health reform, known as “ObamaCare,” on the backward legislation created by Romney.

RomneyCare was the ideal for the health reform proposed by Barack Obama, who insisted that “health insurance coverage will be portable among jobs.”

But RomneyCare is eliminating jobs.  It requires that businesses comply with expensive and cumbersome regulations from a bigger government.  Like RomneyCare on which it’s based, ObamaCare tempts businesses to favor part-time workers over full-time employees, who risk exposing employers to costly penalties.

“Employer-supplied health insurance no longer works,” says health-care expert Roger Battistella of Cornell.  “It imposes a heavy burden on American companies when they compete against international firms and creates insecurity and instability for American workers.”

Romney’s disastrous plan is characterized by Professor Battistella.

In light of the aging of the labor force and growth in the size of the retiree population, on the one hand, and the emergence of global trade in which profits and survival are imperiled by high labor cost, on the other…employers are unlikely to remain the nation’s main source of health insurance coverage.  The economic pressures they encounter point to a much diminished role.  The trend among small-sized firms to disengage totally from the provision of health benefits will not diminish, whereas large firms encumbered with high legacy costs will continue to pursue means for offloading retiree health coverage to others.

It’s time for consumers to take ownership of America’s health care system.  Demanding value and greater transparency in quality and price, Americans given the freedom to buy the health insurance of their choice, as with automobile and home insurance, would be supplied with products that assure major expenses are covered.

Unlike the disappointment of the failure by Romney, successful health care reform needs to be based on the following concepts:

  • Employer and government financing for health coverage is bad for the American economy, businesses, and workers.
  • The federal government is unable to finance new and costly entitlement programs patterned after Medicare and Medicaid.
  • The utopian ideal for national health insurance, including a single-payer system, is detached from economic reality, in that it drives up costs by encouraging consumption.
  • Government needs to focus on its proper role: overseeing programs and setting standards.
  • A plan for health care reform in the United States should transform current employer-funded health programs from defined benefit to defined contribution schemes, for a successful transition to a consumer-owned health care system.
  • American consumers will share in efficiency savings with cost containment strategies.

Senator Mitch McConnell said that the first of his legislative priorities is to fix the RomneyCare train wreck.  Leading the Senate majority of the United States Congress, he should judge it as necessary and expedient to repeal ObamaCare, based on the misguided employer mandates enacted by Romney, and replace it with a consumer-owned health care system that enjoys the approval of the American public by an amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

Such action for health care reform seems most likely to effect safety and happiness.

References

Roger M. Battistella, Health Care Turning Point: Why Single Payer Won’t Work (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2010).

Barack Obama, Change We Can Believe In: Barack Obama’s Plan to Renew America’s Promise, (New York: Crown Publishing, 2008).

Joseph Rago, “The Massachusetts Health-Care ‘Train Wreck,’” The Wall Street Journal, July 7, 2010, A17.

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14 thoughts on “Bad Health Care

  1. The new economic and demographic realities mentioned above do more than underlie the declining role of employer privided health coverage. Most importantly, they signify a larger transformation in the provision of social welfare and entitlement programs whereby individuals are required to assume greater responsibility in the financing of health and pension benefits.

    In place of paternalism and universal coverage, government financing increasingly will focus on the needy on a sliding scale basis. Within the framework of a shared responsibility society, government increasingly will assume a secondary supportive role.

  2. Your timely opinion is in agreement with and superior to the step in the right direction by the deficit panel yesterday.

    Thank you for writing, Dr. Battistella.

  3. One of the basic problems with our current health care system is the high costs associated with the risk of failing health and the high cost of managing this (through insurance).
    ‘Obama care’ primarily focused on ‘the insurance’ side of the problem rather than focusing on the actual cost of health care. The health insurance providers are also partly responsible for the high costs as they are extremely inefficient and pass on this inefficiency by gouging the consumers. The health insurance agency premise that ‘oh our costs are going up because people are over-utilizing these services’ is ridiculous, because the premiums for health insurance are actuarially determined. The actuaries all ready take into account these probabilities while determining the premium for an insurance product. There is also a conflict of interest here, in that insurance companies as corporations want to maximize their profit instead of maximizing the benefit to the insured. It’s this bargain which is tilted so heavily on the side of the insurance companies, that buying health insurance is almost like putting money into a casino. There are two ways to solve this problem: 1. Break the oligopolistic nature of the health insurance industry, and break these giant health insurers into smaller entities and also encourage new competition in this are. This will make the health insurance companies more responsible and efficient about managing their business and also help in bringing the costs down. 2. Keep a government health insurance plan to compete with the private sector plans. This will help in providing a reality check for the private health insurance providers.

    As for bringing the costs of health care down, I think we can start with increasing the supply of doctors and qualified health care profeesionals into the industry. Opening up new medical schools across the country and increasing enrollment and availaibility of trained medical personnel will take care of the ‘artificial shortage’ created through lack of supply of trained doctors in the medical profession and will be a good starting point. The next step will be to bring down the cost of pharmaceuticals, perhaps through making more medicines available as ‘generic drugs’ or by encouraging global mobility of pharmaceutical trade.

  4. Thank you, Dr. Chatterjee, for sharing your opinion about needs for health care reform.

    Your opinion is in general agreement with the above argument made by Dr. Battistella: successful reform of the health care in the United States needs to be based on demands made on insurance companies in a system directed by consumers. Such a policy would eliminate any necessity for intervention in the health insurance market by the government, similar to reasons why society feels no need for government intervention in markets for automobile or home insurance.

    You’re also right about a need to meet the increasing demand for physicians in primary care, as opposed to having the medical field dominated by specialists.

    Increasing competition in the pharmaceutical industry could indeed contribute to lower prices for consumers, who would further benefit with streamlining of the pharmaceutical approval process by the government.

    Thanks again for writing with your consideration and guidance.

  5. Thank you for taking time to write with your kind words, Mr. Pogue.

    “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” said writer C.C. Colton, who some argue has been misunderstood. They may be right, because you also humble me with your comment.

    Please share any opinions you have for improvements you feel are needed in my recommendations to Congress.

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