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White House missed semantic key to reform battle

Over the weekend President Barack Obama started doing something I've been saying for a couple of weeks he should have done in the first place. He began touting not his health care reform plan, but his health insurance reform plan. Had the White House started with health insurance reform, I told colleagues during a discussion on the latest cantankerous town hall meetings around the country, people would have lined up around the block to support it. Instead, the push for health care reform frightened people and opened the door for both sides of the debate to provide plenty of misinformation and straight-up lies.

You see, the phrase health care reform makes some people think you are going to change the way they are treated in hospitals and doctor's offices. It has them worried the government will decide what care and treatment they receive and from what doctor. But the president's plan was never about that. I realized this just a few minutes into his town hall meeting in Raleigh last month. What I heard Mr. Obama discuss was not changes in the care you'll receive but how to pay for it and how to get as many Americans as possible covered. But as has happened so many times since he took office, the Obama administration had a good idea, but poor execution.

Look, if you don't think the health insurance industry in this country needs to change, then you're either crazy or really, really rich. Admit it: You've decided against going to the doctor on multiple occassions because of how much it's gonna cost. I certainly have. In fact, I've done it regularly. Unless it's something extremely painful or something I don't think I can manage on my own, I'll just suffer. It may not be the best idea, but it's a necessity for so many of us just trying to make ends meet.

Perhaps this change in title will make the whole debate more constructive. The yelling, screaming, protesting and general stupidity on all sides certainly has been anything but constructive. Unfortunately, that taint of animosity has imbued itself so deeply into the discussion that there may be no going back. So let's try to stick to the facts.

1. More Americans need better and cheaper health care coverage. This goes beyond the 46-million people without insurance in this coverage. As I said, many of us who have insurance still can't afford to use it as we should.

2. The system needs to be more efficient. The president says the money in the exisiting system will pay for about two-thirds of the more than $1 trillion price tag over ten years that's been projected. I don't completely buy that, because I doubt if the inefficiencies and abuses of any system can be weeded out to make the most of that money.

3. The so-called public option can help if it can truly promote more competition. Obviously, you'd prefer it to happen without government intervention. Regardless, none of the proposed public option plans are anywhere near what is truly socialized medicine.

So let's stop the screaming, but let's continue to the discourse. Let's agree that change needs to happen and work together to find it. It doesn't matter if your liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat. This is a people issue. We spend too much on health care in a country where we should be smart enough to find a better way to do it. So let's find that better way instead of just laying blame.

By: Kevin Wuzzardo

Kevin don't use your lousy insurance as justification.....

...to screw up mine. I pay a miniscule co-pay for an office visit. Everything past that is covered. I have GREAT insurance. If we adopt a "public option," my employer and yours will simply say, "We're out of the health insurance buying business. Go use the public option".... ..and THAT is what lies at the bottom of the public anger and outrage. The 5 out of 6 Americans who ARE insured are not going to lie down and let the Socialists mandate mediocrity for every American.

ditto

Love mine too, its great !

Reform battle...

Kevin, I agree with you, for the most part. However, there's been one thing missing throughout this entire exchange and that thing is honesty. I don't agree with a president whom I feel is trying to slip things in the back door while we're making nice at the front door. This point cannot be debated, and that is that the president is not being transparent, as he promised. Rather, he has taken on quite an arrogance that I find insulting and unfounded. There MUST be a level of mutual trust BEFORE we can even attempt to find a better way.

No More Health Catrina !

No More Health Catrina ! Let's set up the Equation ! 1. All across the spectrum share the urgent need for the reform as the course today is financially unsustainable. By the way, how do we pay for it ? Let's make it affordable while improving quality. 2. Of all choices on the table, saving via efficiency is the best, and Removing Wastes alone is Enough to Meet the Goal. As one instance, please visit http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111967435, you will be stunned ! No one knows just how much medical fraud there is, and estimates range from $600 to $6000 billion over the next decade lost to it. And, in May 2009, the Obama administration announced a new task force made up of officials from the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services to work on health care fraud. 3. Enough Room For Savings ! Many reformers recognized roughly 30 percent of all health-care spending in the U.S. -some $700 billion a year- might be wasted on medical abuse, unnecessary procedures, unnecessary visits to the doctor, overpriced pharmaceuticals, bloated insurance companies, and the most inefficient paper billing systems imaginable, and payment reform could solve this problem. Provided the American people pay around twice the amount of the efficient systems, the result is still well below them, the ratio of waste might be estimated to reach far more than 50% in the U.S. Let's be conservative regarding the ratio. Even If as little as 10% of savings apply to the combined Medicare and Medicaid cost of $923.5bn per year, as of July, the savings of $923.5bn over the next decade are possible. And when these savings add to the already allocated $583 billion, the savings of wastes involving so called "doughnut hole" , the unnecessary subsidies for insurers, medical abuse, exorbitant costs by the tragic ER visits etc, the concern over revenue might be a thing of the past. As a matter of fact, with the promising redesign in the pipeline, some patient-focused clinics in 10 regions have already achieved 16% of savings in Medicare while their quality scores are well above average. Please be 'sure' to visit http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/13/opinion/13gawande.html?hp for credible evidences ! Thankfully, the provisions in the reform include more expansive, systematic policies such as 'a patient's outcome-based payment system' than they have. I for one firmly believe this American innovation, 'a patient's outcome-based payment system' , is capable of turning profit-oriented practices into patient-focused system / value. Dr. Armadio at Mayo clinic says, "If we got rid of that stuff (waste), we save a third of all that we spend and that is 2.5 trillion dollars on health care. A third of that and that is 700 billion dollars a year. That covers a lot of uninsured people." Please visit http://www.kare11.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=820455&catid=391 for detailed infos -- Americans' Best Friends Are The Envy Of The Planet ! -- -- Except For The Underinsured, The Uninsured Alone Outnumber The Entire Population In Canada -- 4. Some say, if the reform package is affordable and improve quality, then the inflation/bankruptcy-oriented market can not last, thereby competition should begin with our unfair, unsustainable market value, or let's make another insurer-friendly scheme, even though the inflation/bankruptcy-oriented market share the need for change. 5. CONCLUSION = THE WILL OF REFORM, NOT COST. The runaway premium similar to the peak fuel price last year and left so many folks in despair insists on staying the course with the attitude 'unchanged', clearly this trend could bankrupt individual, business, and government. Now the government subsequently is tasked with these two main assignments, first, to address premium inflation, second, to expand coverage to all in urgent need. In order to cover all and not to add to the deficit, the public option can not set the same rates of private market, rather, it needs to have BALANCING function to keep it in check in terms of INFLATION, too. Unfortunately, this 'unavoidable' direction is being aggressively accused by the runaway premium, citing government 'take-over' . Under the circumstances the energy bill to determine human future and the other major issues are presently piled up, who wants to waste time making enemies ?, which also does not benefit the forthcoming election. with the heartbreaking tears in mind (Nearly 11 Million Cancer Patients Without Health Insurance), private market also needs changes and should join together to complete this reform , as promised, otherwise, the runaway premium only has itself to blame while new firms are filling the void with competitive deals. And It can be said that fair competition starts with a fair, sustainable market value. However, the plan in the House is designed to keep people in an employer-based health insurance system, and the public option would be offered to those for whom employer-provided insurance is not available. And job-based coverage (indirect payment) mandate code, and ample capital, reduced ER costs, IT base to streamline the administrative processes and trim the costs might be favorable to the private market. Over time, supposedly, the public plan will concentrate more on basic, primary cares, and the private insurers will provide their clients with differentiated services. Let me repeat; No More Health Catrina, No More Bankruptcy Of Middle Class ! -- Americans' Best Friends Are The Envy Of The Planet ! -- -- Except For The Underinsured, The Uninsured Alone Outnumber The Entire Population In Canada -- Thank You !

Obamacare

Kevin Wuzzardo writes: " ... You've decided against going to the doctor on multiple occassions because of how much it's gonna cost. I certainly have. In fact, I've done it regularly. ..." Kevin, honey, you need a new health care plan. Try Obamacare, if you think it's so great. Just leave the rest of us out of it.

how about that Obama care? I

how about that Obama care? I mean, who cares more than George Bush? All some people care about is how much they can milk the american people to keep their Saudi friends pockets lined with oil money.

Catch up with the rest of the world...

I thought that was an excellent analysis of what is going on. We have public health care in Canada and it works really well! And less of our GDP is spent on providing universal coverage. Go figure... Oh yeah in America health care is BIG business. The whole debate has been fueled by the shareholders. The fact is that when people have access to affordable health care everyone benefits. Less sick people around is a good thing!

Canada...

What a lame excuse for a country, EH?

It works really well?

Then why do so many of your countrymen come to the United States for treatment? Why is the average wait for an artificial shoulder joint over two years in Canada?