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About those Republican Ideas for Health Care Reform

One Democratic talking point is that the Republicans have been sitting on the sidelines and complaining, instead of offering ideas of their own to solve the current problems. This idea was prominent in the Sunday talk shows. Watch for it in the President's address to Congress tonight. The Democrats, like Congresswoman Maxine Waters D-Nutsville on This Week With George Stephanopoulos, who said You've had your opportunity. You don't have a bill. Where's your bill? What have you come up with? What are you offering as an alternative? This President has reached across the aisle. He's done everything. He's stroked. He's cajoled. He's begged. But the Republicans are not supporting him. It's bigger than healthcare. This is about President Obama, and the Republicans have decided to use this by which to bring him down.

I respectfully ask Ms Waters to STFU, if it please the court. The Republicans have offered many ideas to improve our current health care system. Two at the top of the list:

  1. Selling health insurance across state lines
  2. Tort reform

Both have some merit. According to the Wall Street Journal, in New Jersey, the annual cost of an individual plan for a 25-year-old male in 2006 was $5,880, ...Kentucky--where an annual plan for a 25-year-old male cost less than $1,000. Some of that is caused by the higher cost of medical care in New Jersey, but the majority is caused by the State of New Jersey mandating Cadillac plans for the citizens of New Jersey. According to Devon Herrick at the Heartland Institute:
Differing regulations and mandates among the states cause wide variations in individual health insurance rates. The federal McCarran-Ferguson Act, which permitted states to set their own requirements for coverage, has protected state markets from competition and led to an assortment of mandates--many of which the insured do not want or need. For example:

* About one-fourth of states require health insurance to cover acupuncture and marriage counseling.

* More than half of states require coverage for social workers, and 60 percent mandate coverage for contraceptives.

* Seven states require coverage for hairpieces, and nine for hearing aids.

In all, there are more than 1,900 state mandates across the United States. Some legislators contribute to this excess by giving in to special interests' demands that insurers cover their specific services and providers. The result is higher premiums for consumers--pricing an estimated one-fourth of the uninsured out of the market by this means alone.

According to Tom Daschle on This Week, selling insurance across state lines would be a race to the bottom as states compete for the lowest cost insurance offerings. Doesn't sound like a bad idea to me.

And how about tort reform. Sarah Palin suggests such a solution.

As Dr. Scott Gottlieb recently noted, If Mr. Obama is serious about lowering costs, he'll need to reform the economic structures in medicine--especially programs like Medicare. [footnote in original] Two examples of these economic structures are high malpractice insurance premiums foisted on physicians (and ultimately passed on to consumers as high health care costs) and the billions wasted on defensive medicine.

Dr. Stuart Weinstein, with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, recently explained the problem:

"The medical liability crisis has had many unintended consequences, most notably a decrease in access to care in a growing number of states and an increase in healthcare costs.
Access is affected as physicians move their practices to states with lower liability rates and change their practice patterns to reduce or eliminate high-risk services. When one considers that half of all neurosurgeons--as well as one third of all orthopedic surgeons, one third of all emergency physicians, and one third of all trauma surgeons--are sued each year, is it any wonder that 70 percent of emergency departments are at risk because they lack available on-call specialist coverage?" [footnote in original]

Dr. Weinstein makes good points, points completely ignored by President Obama. Dr. Weinstein details the costs that our out-of-control tort system are causing the health care industry and notes research that found that liability reforms could reduce defensive medicine practices, leading to a 5 percent to 9 percent reduction in medical expenditures without any effect on mortality or medical complications.

Read the whole thing. Beats the Sunday shows by a mile.


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Comments (10)

Decent points, but my old b... (Below threshold)

Decent points, but my old broken record points still apply.

According to the MSM, Repub... (Below threshold)

According to the MSM, Republicans don't have a 'plan', therefore HR2520 doesn't exist. But then, if they were really honest, Barry doesn't have a plan either....except the one in his head. At least HR2520 is written down. Guess the MSM can't read. Or is it that Sarah Palin can't read?

Nobody wants to offer a sub... (Below threshold)

Nobody wants to offer a substantive reply to epador?

Tort reform will save some money in the system, but not nearly as much as, say, a public option, which would really put the screws to those vampire health insurance companies and drive prices down across the board.

And to act as though Palin deserves any credit for bringing up tort reform is silly. This discussion is way too wonky for the ex-governor. And that's being as nice as possible.

I got an idea how about no ... (Below threshold)

I got an idea how about no to big government! No to Socialism!

Even getting insurance thro... (Below threshold)

Even getting insurance through my employer I'm forced to pay for maternity care, drug counseling, alcohol rehab, etc. I've no need at all for any of those services and many more I pay for.

Conversely, my car insurance will pay for a dent in my fender, but not if my engine blows up.

Oyster, if your insurance i... (Below threshold)

Oyster, if your insurance is like mine it will pay for a hysterectomy and prostate cancer. I guess it's nice to have all your bases covered, but I'm thinking I could drop one or the other and feel pretty comfortable about it.

hyperbolist -You are... (Below threshold)

hyperbolist -
You are wrong on that count on several points. 1st- The cost of medical malpractice is the largest cost according to several indepentent groups. First, there is the cost of the actual $ paid out. This can be substantial and is recovered through large increase in doctors malpractice insurance and passed onto us (a doctor told me recently that he has never been sued, but to continue to deliver babies he would have to double his fees to pay for malpractice insurance. 2nd, the really big cost, as stated above. Doctors live in fear of lawsuits, especially when they don't test and later find out the patient covered something up. Doesn't matter to jury, they still pay, so they over test to try to find problems they are unaware of. Those overtests are costly and everyone gets paid and adds to cost of medical care. Tort reform could save billions. That is why republicans insist on tort reform.

Our dear Congresswoman Maxi... (Below threshold)

Our dear Congresswoman Maxine Waters is an idiot. i say that with all due respect. She is an idiot because she actually believes what comes out of her mouth. She honestly believes that the republicans have not put forth any bill because she says so. If you showed her the bill and read it to her, she would still believe that it did not exist. If it does not fit what her pea brain says is right, then it is not right. And the people who rely on CNN or MSNBC exclusively will also say that the republicans have not put forth any actual bills or have a policy becasue they have failed to report it. they have protected the president and democrats from scrutiny and therefore made their followers ignorant. I watch many cable channels and always amazed at their poor coverage. Get out people and follow other news sources, its a big world out there.

Bruce, they don't insist on... (Below threshold)

Bruce, they don't insist on it. If they did, they would have passed it when they controlled the government. They're a bunch of useless know-nothings who do nothing, apart from gorge at the trough of special interest dollars. If any of the lobbying groups that control the Republican Party gave a shit about tort reform, it would have happened between 2001 and 2006. But they don't, so it didn't.

Find a new party to support if you actually care about tort reform.

And I don't know why anyone should care whether a minority regional party has put forth a bill as an alternative to the Democrats' bill. Who the fuck cares? Did the Green Party also offer an alternative bill? Oooh, what did that one say? If bills have to satisfy the losers of elections, then elections don't matter. Put up better candidates, who have some interesting ideas--or get used to being marginalized. It's really that simple.

Why not implement a 'junk f... (Below threshold)
Ed Schry:

Why not implement a 'junk food' tax and use those monies to fund a single payer system for middle class and lower income individuals. Higher income folks could stay with their current health care plans. The way the tax would work is for ei. a gallon of skim milk would not be taxed but a gallon of 1% milk would and a gallon of 2% would be taxed more still and up the gradation ladder. This way the tax system would encourage healthy diets and folks choosing less healthy alternatives would pay the true cost of those choices up front.






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