So here we are Day 4 of my week-long focus on the health care reform bill.
On Day 1, I shared with you my thoughts on the new health care reform bill (I’ve heard people say they liked this, but no comments on the blog — I love it when you comment on the blog!) If you haven’t read it yet, it’s the place to start.
Day 2 contained multiple takes on the health care bill from prominent politicians and such, via a link to a NY Times article.
Yesterday (Day 3) contained links relating to the continuation of the for-profit system and on palliative care.
Today, I wanted touch on the headlines discussing the cost of health care in general, taking special note of the recent headlines related to new costs for businesses.
“People like to live too much.
“This is my favorite, only half-kidding, response when people ask why health care in America is so expensive.”
As I talked about in my original entry, as medical procedures become more advanced, they’re going to cost more overall, especially if we believe we can give everything to everyone. Without some kind of rationing, costs will continue to skyrocket. And it must be noted, too, that whatever care is given, someone has to pay for — be it insurance companies, the patient, employers, the providrs, or the government (and probably others). The question we then need to ask is, “Who’s going to pay?”
As the bill rolled out, we heard news of companies taking financial hits because of new tax structures in the bill:
ObamaCare Day One (Wall Street Journal)
AT&T Plans $1 Billion Charge For Health Care (Huffington Post)
Healthcare Reform will “cost” AT&T and friends WHUT? A Liberal vs. Conservative Debate (Really!) (contains quotes from the articles Companies Push to Repeal Provision of Health Law (NY Times) and Henry Waxman’s War on Accounting (The Atlantic))
But there are other voices, too:
Ben Arnon: On Measuring the Cost of Health Care Reform (The Huffington Post)
“So how do we measure the cost of health care reform? The cost of health care reform cannot be measured solely based on absolute monetary cost. Opportunity cost must be factored into the equation. The opportunity cost of remaining with the status quo and avoiding health care reform involved significant costs both in terms of monetary value as well as emotional costs that tear at the human psyche and that ultimately affect macroeconomic factors such as overall work output and productivity.”
“The percentage of Americans with a “high financial burden for healthcare” rose to 19 percent in 2006 from 14 percent in 2001, according to the Washington-based Center for Studying Health System Change.
“The think tank defines a high out-of-pocket burden for healthcare as spending more than 10 percent of before-tax income on insurance premiums and medical care.”
Ezra Klein: The five most promising cost controls in the health-care bill (The Washington Post – read for more details)
(1) Create a competitive insurance market
(2) The Medicare Commission
(3) A tax on “Cadillac plans”
(4) Medicare “bundling” programs
(5) Changing the politics of reform
So we come back to the question again, “Who’s going to pay?” As I stated on Day 1, I believe we all need to take care of each other. I don’t believe there should be profiteering on people’s health, or lack thereof, but the current health care reform bill continues the for-profit system. How much individuals vs. corporations are left on the hook might be an interesting topic, but that just would end with everyone crying, “Not Me!” (And we already know insurance companies have been known to find ways to drop coverage to avoid paying for medical costs when people get sick.)
So “Who’s going to pay?” Let’s agree that we all need to take care of each other and thatwe can share the costs of our another’s health based on our economic abilities. Who’s in?