America’s healthcare system is not second rate. Yet that is what the Commonwealth Fund would have us believe with their 2010 report on health care in this country.
Mr Mike Rogers, Representative of Michigan, made a compelling statement recently about healthcare reform in the United States. He stated that the healthcare reforms that were passed and will soon be implemented are a “punishment” for the “85% of Americans who currently have health care.”
What I find disappointing is the continued partisan nature of the whole discussion. Health care is not partisan. There is no Democrat or Republican who will escape the need for health care at some time in his/her life.
What we need, and haven’t yet been given, is an accurate appraisal of the virtues and failings of our current healthcare system. We need to implement appropriate reforms and adjustments to the existing system, increasing access to those in need, decreasing costs by improving the methods by which care is reimbursed, and leaving intact the components of our healthcare system that currently work just fine.
But we have not seen anything of the sort. Instead, a partisan group of elected individuals have succeeded in passing a highly controversial, highly questionable group of changes that threatens to upend our entire healthcare system.
There are better ways to improve systems as vastly complex as the United States’ healthcare system. Slowly modifying existing programs is one way. Phasing out components of the system that don’t work to expectations would be reasonable. Adding cheaper plans for low income workers would work as well, stipulating, of course, that everyone deserves and will receive the same basic level of health care services. Above the basic level, market forces can and will determine what kind of care is delivered.
As Mr Rogers implies in his statement referenced above, the United States currently kills cancers better than many other countries. I pray we do not lose sight of that fact in our collective quest to cut costs. That would be the real tragedy in this discussion.