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Healthcare not that complicated

Editor:

Healthcare is costly because most people never look at the bottom line

Why is healthcare so expensive? Because you and I don’t pay for it. Whether it’s a physical exam, blood test, teeth cleaning or a flu shot, we let insurance pay for it.

We and the government have turned insurance into a payment program, not a hedge against catastrophic events.

What if we handled auto repair the same way? How much do you think an oil change would cost if your insurance company paid for it (after your co-pay of course)?

Here are some common-sense, old-fashioned and, yes, fiscally conservative means for true healthcare reform:

n Insurance is for high-risk events only. Buy a policy for hospital stays or a policy for cancer, kidney disease, etc. Strip all the state mandates for acupuncture, chiropractic, mental health, that drive up the cost of insurance. Be able to purchase precisely what you need and what you want. Let the competition between insurance companies drive down the costs.

n The consumer pays the bill, insurance is reimbursement. Now consumers will start shopping the prices for sure.

n Let the free market deliver medical services. Shop for the best physical exam, teeth cleaning, colonoscopy, blood test. Let them all advertise in the Sunday newspaper right along with Home Depot, Walmart and others. Walmart has driven down the cost of eyeglasses. Just imagine what they would do in the world of medical services. Talk about one-stop shopping.

n You are in control and you have responsibility for your health. If you do risky, unhealthy things, you will bear the cost.

n In a cost-minimized world, more people will be able to afford their healthcare. For those who can’t, each state of the union can decide how it will protect its least able citizens as each state will have a different situation (Colorado and Mississippi will take different views on obesity, for example).

n Tort reform. Your doctor schedules a dozen tests for every ailment to cover his backside against any possible charge of malpractice or negligence. We all pay for that.

If you still want the big new government plan and if your elected representative is still trying to shove it down your throat, ask your representative one question: Will he or she also be on the new government program?

 

Warren B. Mueller, Diamondhead

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