Thursday, October 15, 2009

Healthcare: Trick or Treat Time

In politics its either too early to tell or too late to do anything about it.

Politics is the art of the possible.


As Halloween approaches, so does the moment of truth for National Health care Reform, or whatever will pass for it.

So far, its been a lot of stated objectives, posturing and behind the scenes roiling and boiling which have fed the media coverage, such as it is.

Lots of speculation, predictions and cautions being thrown about, but really no one knows what will result and become the new law of the land.

I think I know, but only in general terms; less than what some hope for and more than some want.

No need to worry about the 'perfect becoming the enemy of the good', because there is no such thing as perfect that can be agreed upon comprehensively by either Congress or the people they represent.

That is why we need accept what can be passed now, but also agree to revisit it periodically for improvements that become necessary or desirable.

Like maybe the 'trigger' idea for initiating a 'public option' suggested by Senator Olympia Snowe, the only Republican with enough personal integrity and courage to buck the party of 'NO'.

Or, Senator Ron Wyden's idea that seems so sensible.

Or, making existing Medicare reimbursements more fair.
Things like that.

In talking with a number of medical professionals, I find clear support for health care reform, although some are certainly fearful or adverse to what they think will be forthcoming. And change can be scary.

One respected Doctor- who is strongly opposed to reform as is now now being discussed- sees the issue this way.

A three-legged stool of important issues; ACCESS, AFFORDABILITY, QUALITY OF CARE.
He rates them in the order given, with ACCESS clearly the top priority.

The AFFORDABILITY question is of course also critical, especially with something closer to universal coverage.
His fear is that if a 'public option' is ever adopted, that would sound the death knell for the private insurance industry.

That is also what the health insurance industry wants us to believe, plus that health insurance costs will actually rise dramatically - as their 11th hour bogus 'report' claimed. Seems it left out any anticipated savings! How could that happen?

Interestingly, some of the big unions are also having concerns about partially financing health care reform by taxing so-called 'Cadillac' health care plans.
Now why would they do that?
Could it be that they see their mission as negotiating 'Cadillac' health care plans for their members?
Taxing these same plans would tend to reduce those benefits, wouldn't it? Can't have that!

But the unions are also touting a public option, which is a good idea.
But, one has to wonder if they think -as my Doctor friend does- a public option would destroy the private health industry.
Apparently not, but maybe that's a moot point since it appears NO public option is likely to be authorized this time around by our illustrious Congress.

One thing is certain, every truly progressive and comprehensive piece of legislation ever passed has had a struggle, often along partisan lines.
This one is no exception.
So, while a bi-partisan approach may be desirable, it doesn't appear likely - except token exceptions, like Sen Snowe.
And, that's OK with me.

This is something that has been needed for a long time, without any substantial resolution,
It is also something this President was elected to deliver.
And, it is something that most Americans support, despite the hype and misinformation they have to contend with.

But, I think most folks are used to that stuff and see it for what is is.
Too bad our Bill of Rights doesn't specify we are entitled to the truth!

Let's hope we get more treats than tricks when Congress gets around to voting on this important issue.