The State of NC Healthcare

Jim Buie’s comments on healthcare reform

Posted in Reform-in-progress by writemyline on 12 January 2009

Jim Buie (The Buie Knife) posted the following comment on writemyline in response to an earlier post that first appeared on this blog and entitled “Bits and pieces” of healthcare reform . I think Jim is right on target and that his thoughts deserve consideration, especially his idea of healthcare being similar to a public utility.

Jim Buie: 
It will be very important for those of us concerned about health care reform to put the heat on the new administration. Sens. Kennedy and Baucus will take a leading role in proposals, I’m reading. What passes will largely be determined by COST, given the huge bailout package. The argument that will be most persuasive is that health care reform, in the long run, SAVES money. We in the U.S. need to face the fact that other countries manage to INSURE EVERYONE and provide, overall, better care for far less cost than we do. We need to learn from studies of comparative health care internationally and implement recommendations.

– by insuring the uninsured, we move them away from the most expensive care, in emergency rooms, and eliminate cost-shifting.

– by allowing the gov’t to purchase generic phamaceuticals in bulk, we reduce price gouging by pharmaceutical companies.

– we should reduce the “for profit” nature of private health care, with exorbitant salaries for executives. Cap their salaries and eliminate bonuses. Start thinking of health care as a public utility.

– reduce the number and wasteful purchase of expensive machines, such as CT scans (utilization in the u.s. is far greater than in other countries).

– merge small insurance groups into much larger pools to reduce adverse selection, ban cherry-picking of healthy (and most profitable) patients, and reduce the overall risk of health care plans — that should reduce monthly premiums because risk is shared more widely.

– maybe open up Medicare to younger people, and the federal health insurance programs to people who aren’t federal employees. If people could get into these plans, they’d pay far less than they do for private health care plans.

(I currently pay $300+ a month as a self-employed person for health care for myself, my wife, and son, but there’s a $10,000 a year deductible. This is not really health insurance, it’s simply insurance against the loss of our home in the event of major illness.)

Tagged with: ,