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Hullabaloo


Friday, June 29, 2012

 
What now?

by digby

In the wake of the ACA decision, Howie featured a great dialog yesterday on DWT with several progressive congressional candidates who also happen to be doctors, David Gill, Lee Rogers, Sayed Taj and Manan Trivedi. The entire discussion is well worth reading, but I thought I'd just share one part of it --- the "what do we do now" part of it:

Dr. Taj:
The Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act and the individual mandate means that those of us that support reform of our health care system must now act to build on what has been done and improve it. For one, health care costs are a major contributor to the federal deficit that must be reigned in if we’re to put our nation on a stable fiscal foundation. The individual mandate is the centerpiece of the ACA and projected cost reductions would have been impossible without a larger insurance pool. It would have meant increasingly less take-home pay for middle class families to pay for the same or worse coverage. There's a lot we must do to improve the legislation.

The decision gives us the opportunity to keep reforming and designing a better system. Polls have shown widespread public support for a universal health care system and this is the window of opportunity for our leaders to act. A recent report by economist Gerald Friedman shows that this would “save as much as $570 billion now wasted on administrative overhead and monopoly profits.” While there are costs involved with insuring millions of uninsured and underinsured we’d save much more by eliminating middlemen and simplifying the system as a whole, especially by eliminating the incentive to deny care for larger profits. Even with its virtues, the ACA doesn't do nearly enough to bring down long-term costs or correct the deeply rooted problems of our health care system.

Dr. Rogers:
I think the whole panel would obviously agree that we need doctors at the table making healthcare decisions. Not bureaucrats or lawyers. This decision draws attention to the good parts of Obamacare and the bad parts. Most of us can agree that eliminating pre-existing conditions to qualify for insurance, allowing adult children to stay on parents insurance, and extending coverage for preventable diseases are good things. Where Republicans and Democrats disagree is how to pay for it. Healthcare is so important for the well-being of our nation, that it should be a high priority. We're wasting a lot of money on a war which we already won, on military aid to wealthy nations, on redundant nuclear weapons systems when we could already destroy the planet multiple times over, on putting nonviolent drug offenders in prison instead of in treatment, giving away billions in subsidies to big oil companies, and many other things that should take a back seat to making sure our citizens have access to quality, affordable care.

The Supreme Court ruled that the federal government has the Constitutional authority to regulate nearly all aspects of healthcare including a provision that requires citizens to purchase health insurance. People who have benefited from the law will continue to benefit. That's the good part. The bad part is that the law still needs to be fixed. No law is perfect, but this one benefits the big insurance companies like no other. It mandates you purchase a product but has no cost controls on that product. We need to put patients first, not big insurance companies.


Dr Trivedi:

The problem with the ACA was that it was too complicated and did not do enough to rein in healthcare costs or hold the insurance companies accountable. The SCOTUS decision still allows for an opportunity to pursue a much more simplified system, like a Medicare buy-in, which would provide competition in the marketplace and provide patient consumers public and private choices. This coupled with a much greater focus on comparative effectiveness research, so we can better figure out what works and what doesn't work, would be a system that covers everyone, brings costs down and improves the quality of healthcare for everyone.


Dr. Gill, direct and to the point:

We need to once again push for Improved Medicare for All.


It would be helpful to have these people in the congress, don't you think?

You can contribute to Blue America candidates Gill and Rogers, here.


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