Monday, December 19, 2011

3 Principles that can bring us together for meaningful healthcare reform

The usual discussion about health care reform often resembles a food fight in middle school. Insults pass for argument, and facts get ignored or selectively presented only when they bolster one's opinion. What would it look like if we talked about what we all truly care about. Could we have a different discussion?

When I have discussed this issue with others in my community, there are 3 important principles that seem to ring true with most of us.

First, we need to invest  in "us" and the future we want to build. If we envision America as a successful land of opportunity, it means that we need a healthy workforce, able to compete and healthy students able to learn new skills. Our investment now in an equitable system that allows that to happen is simply a requirement needed to  make it so! This future will not happen by accident, and our failure to act now will doom our next generation to a future much different than we would like for them.

Secondly, we must end waste! It makes no sense to spend money on treatments that do not heal, or on complicated paper work that drives up costs. Fraud must be eliminated. Research on how to improve care must be supported, and the public should see the benefits!

Finally,  we need to end cost shifting, and share the burden fairly. Medical pricing today makes no sense. The cash paying person is charged the most. Hospitals overcharge for some things to pay for what is not covered. Some people get a tax break on insurance and some do not. A healthy society needs every one to be covered, and the cost must be affordable for all, or our society will remain broken and care will remain out of reach for many.