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Health Care Up to Public, Edwards Says – Part 1

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

The obvious goal of the Democratic Party if they win the Presidential election is to institute a socialized medicine system. Not one candidate is talking about an incentive driven healthcare system to increase wellness of Americans and decrease the cost to the healthcare system by preventing the complications of chronic diseases. If we created a hype for creating a consumer driven healthcare system with the ideal medical saving account, America would have a chance at effective healthcare reform.
Senator Edwards’ healthcare plan became clear this week. I believe it will fail.

“In Patrick, S.C. Former Senator John Edwards does not discount the possibility that his health care proposal, which would allow Americans to buy new government insurance packages modeled on Medicare, could evolve into a federalized system like those in Canada and many European countries. And if it does, Mr. Edwards said he would be just fine with that.”

To my surprise, Senator Edwards has revealed the Democratic Party’s goal sooner than I anticipated.

“American health consumers will decide which works best,” Mr. Edwards said “It could continue to be divided. But it could go in one direction or the other, and one of the directions is obviously government or single-payer. And I’m not opposed to that.”

The present Medicare model is failing. The cost and cost overruns are unaffordable for the government. Medicare is increasing premiums annually for the elderly and decreasing their benefits. Medicare is also decreasing the reimbursements to providers annually.

“Each of the three Democratic front-runners has called for government insurance that would be available to an expanded number of consumers, not just the elderly and disabled as is currently the case with Medicare. If the government is able to undercut private insurers on price — by forgoing profit, reducing overhead, and maximizing economies of scale — it theoretically could put the private system out of business. and become the de facto insurer for the nation.”

Medicare claims to have minimal overhead. However, they outsource the administration and adjudication of claims to various healthcare insurance companies. The healthcare insurance industry is their administrative services organization. The healthcare insurance companies bury the administrative fees into the cost of the service to Medicare. The overhead fees do not show up as overhead.

“Republican candidates and policy strategists have raised the specter of “socialized medicine” and depicted the Democratic plans as a back-door route to a so-called single-payer government system.”
“Mr. Edwards brushed off that critique. “There is nothing back-door about it,” he said. “It’s right through the front door. We’re going to let America decide what health care system works for them.”

All I can say to Mr. Edwards and the Democratic Party is, “Look out for Harry and Louise.”

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.

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