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Health care insurance for all

By Staff | Dec 16, 2009

To the editor,

The Dec. 3, 2009 edition of the Island Reporter printed an article by McKenzie Cassidy entitled “National health care debate is still as yet unabated.” Attached to the article was a “Myths vs. Truths” chart which indicated that it is a myth to state that health care will be rationed as a result of the current efforts to reform the American health care system. I suggest that neither the author nor his source is in a position to make such a claim.

I strongly support the attempt to provide health care insurance for all and to remove the impediment to buying coverage if one has a pre-existing medical condition. That said, in the rush to pass this legislation, I am fearful that the politicians have not accurately evaluated the cost of this major change nor identified the source of funds to pay for it.

As the News-Press noted on Dec. 12, 2009, the plan to squeeze Medicare for $493 billion over 10 years could lead to cuts in services. The New York Times, in an editorial Dec. 13, 2009, noted that the funds to expand coverage will come from increased taxes and reduced payments to health care providers and private plans that contract with Medicare. The latter will likely result in a decrease in benefits and access to services for Medicare patients (i.e. rationing).

Sadly, the health care “reform” advocated by Congress will be implemented before a major effort is made to make the health care delivery system more cost-effective and less likely to require rationing of services.

John D. Harries, MD