Make a list of health care priorities

Published 8:48 am Saturday, September 5, 2009

To the Editor:

As the health care debate goes to the floor of Congress we have to sort our priorities. The term “public option” is a duplicitous way of saying “government insurance.” Do we want the government to be the health care insurance provider for all citizens and not just seniors?

To say that option will just keep private insurance carriers honest is ludicrous. It will eventually put most private competition out of business. The real issue is, as always, control. Who controls the health care industry? A factor to consider is this: Health care is in conflict with profitability.

Instead, we can ask Congress to deal with issues pertinent to private insurance carriers. I would then suggest the following wish list:

1. Maintain the integrity and structure of Medicare and Medicaid as it is currently implemented by the government.

2. Ensure prompt and effective tort reform, thereby lowering cost of medical malpractice insurance and capping excessive awards.

3. Develop methodology supporting student loans at rates that ensure a steady flow of medical students.

4. Enhance compensation for medical professionals in primary care and case management.

5. Compensate doctors for consultation of patients with terminal illnesses or complicated medical issues.

6. Penalize those that bring forth frivolous malpractice lawsuits.

7. Ensure portability of insurance coverage across state borders.

8. Eliminate caps on dollar coverage, especially in catastrophic illness.

9. Eliminate deniability of coverage on pre-existing conditions.

10. Prevent insurance providers from terminating coverage of any insured person or group as long as they make their premium payments in a reasonable manner.

11. Enable insured people portability of their coverage when they change jobs or relocate across state lines.

I propose that these items, not prioritized, could be a start at what our congressmen and women should hear from their constituents.

This is big — about one-sixth of the United States gross national product. Get involved, contact your representatives and provide them with your prioritized lists.

John Murphy