Congratulations to Sen. Joe Donnelly and Rep. Trey Hollingsworth for offering no solutions (aside from Rep. Hollingsworth’s call for selling insurance across state lines) when asked to write their answers to the question, “How should Congress move forward on the health care issue?” in your Aug. 14 Forefront publication. Instead, they recited statistics that describe some of the problems. Their essays are not solutions, or even suggestions about a direction health care reform might move.
Here are three things we might consider to help control costs. First, though it may be globally insignificant, all patients must have a co-pay for services they receive. Trying to rein in costs when government-sponsored beneficiaries have limited or no “skin in the game” will never bear fruit. Have Medicare negotiate costs (including drug costs) with Part D plans and reform the insane way Part D is structured, including coverage for over-the-counter drugs and non-essential medications. This will save money. Finally, allow patients to buy the health insurance they need. Fifty-year-olds likely do not need birth control or artificial insemination benefits. Let those who would like such coverage purchase it. Maybe some, armed with health savings accounts, do not desire insurance covering outpatient testing, betting on their relative good health and youth. Government cannot and should not dictate coverage.
Obamacare supporters now think the ACA’s troubles should lead to more government dictates. The increasing call for “Medicare for all” will have one thing in common with Obamacare: It will be unaffordable, particularly for a nation $20 trillion in debt.
Modification of benefits for so-called entitlements is a necessary feature of any reasonable approach, given our debt.
Don’t expect any politicians to write or talk about that.
Dr. Timothy J. Story