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LETTER: America needs and wants new health care

Tuesday, July 21, 2009 | 5:22 p.m. CDT; updated 11:16 a.m. CDT, Thursday, September 3, 2009

While it is encouraging that Senate and House committees are beginning to seriously consider health care reform legislation, it is critical that the U.S. Congress take action and pass real health care reform in the next few months.

America is facing a health care crisis caused by a combination of skyrocketing costs and an insurance system that leaves 47 million of us without any coverage. The health care system is endangering both our economy and our health, and voters have made it clear that they want change. According to a study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, 70 percent of Americans surveyed think the health care system needs major changes, if not a complete overhaul.

Health care reform legislation must guarantee quality, affordable health care to all U.S. residents. It is universal coverage that will determine the humanity of our system, and all Americans must have health care coverage, including the choice of a quality, affordable public insurance plan.

In addition, it is essential that comparative data on treatments, benefits packages and medical outcomes be made publicly available so that individuals can make informed health decisions.

Congress needs to take additional strong action to reduce the costs of health care for individuals, businesses and communities. As a nation, we are spending $1 out of every $6 we earn on health care. Legislation must provide effective cost controls, equitable distribution of services and allow for efficient and economical delivery of care. Offering everyone a government-administered health insurance plan like Medicare that would compete with private health insurance plans will be key.

Achieving this kind of comprehensive system-wide reform will take a shared effort by citizens and Congress. Senators Kit Bond and Claire McCaskill and Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer need to support real health care reform.

Elaine Blodgett is president of League of Women Voters, Columbia/Boone County, and Lael Von Holt is health chair of the League of Women Voters of Missouri.

 


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Comments

John Schultz July 21, 2009 | 8:06 p.m.

Why was essentially the same letter from July 12th run again?

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro July 21, 2009 | 8:37 p.m.

ray shapiro July 21, 2009 | 7:57 p.m.

The health care industry needs to be reformed.
Obama is not reforming the health care industry.
He is becoming an insurance salesman.
Insurance is just another bureaucracy.
Government workers push paper. Insurance companies dole out benefits, (aka entitlements). It's a perfectly understandable fit, but highly flawed.
True changes to improve health care accessibility could look something like this:
1. Eliminating health care as an insurable commodity from insurance companies. Eliminate malpractice premiums to insurance companies as this too puts a financial burden on the industry.
2. Shift most of the responsibility of accessibility to the AMA. The AMA, directly or through Medical Schools can work out the "malpractice" issue with their accountants and attorneys concerning "risk-management."
3. Government employees manufacturing medical supply/equipment can offset the expense of health care "accessories."
4. Government employees can manufacture most medications.
(Research and development can continue with the "inventors.")
5. The government and the AMA can work together to reduce/subsidize the schooling and certification of physicians and key medical professionals.
6. Remove the military from the management of VA hospitals. Assign these hospitals to Health and Human Services and afford accessibility to vets and the indigent.
These are just a few ideas I've made up off the top of my head. I could come up with more. So can other people. It amazes me that politicians see orchestrating an insurance industry coup as their only option.
The feds already have too much debt and overspend on everything. Their current plan will only cost the taxpayer and corporations more money and heart ache.
When it comes to "reforming health care" they should be looking outside the insurance box and focus on the psyche of doctors, nurses, medical technicians, counselors and physical therapists and patients more so then on their own agenda for an all encompassing bureaucracy.
Obama is wrong on this one.
His ego, and the power crazed efforts of other political left liberal progressives, prevents him from seeing anything but that agenda.
We are all doomed.

(Report Comment)
Nate Birt July 22, 2009 | 8:03 a.m.

Hi John,
Thanks for your question. This column was posted twice because of an editorial oversight (mine). :)
Sorry for the confusion — thanks, as always, for your comments.
Best,
Nate Birt
ColumbiaMissourian.com

(Report Comment)

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