As the Senate Finance Committee works on legislation to revamp the U.S. health care system, ClickBack asked editorial page readers what they thought the final product should look like. Here are some of the responses posted at bangordailynews.com.
Health reform: What should be in the bill? What should stay out?
What should be in the bill? 1) No more state legislatures blocking the free market for health insurance coverage. State legislatures around the country have made health insurance expensive. We should be freely allowed to buy the health insurance that we want to buy. End state mandates.
2) Give those who buy their own health insurance the same IRS tax advantages that are given to businesses that buy health insurance for their employees.
3) Tort reform that eliminates contingency fee suits. Lawyers should be paid per hour to sue. They shouldn’t be allowed to split the “winnings” with the plaintiffs.
My advice is for legislators to go home, take a deep breath, and begin this process again. It is now so politicized that what will pass for “health care reform” is anything the Democrats can get enacted. This isn’t about us anymore; it’s a Democrat vs. Republican sporting event.
At this point anything that may be passed will be a mere shell of the intended legislation. Too many legislators are beholden to the big money of the drug and insurance industries; and if that never changes, the coverage for everyone will not change either. Another sticking point is the continuing rigidly partisan nature of U.S. politics, state and federal. Until the “parties” can act in unison, nothing of any importance, excepting congressional pay raises will be accomplished.
The Senate Finance health care bill and the others do not cover everyone and the cost is outrageous. There is nothing to bend the cost curve down and much to hand over our health care to the executive branch where price controls and rationing will become the final controller of costs. There is already a bill (S.334, sponsored by Democrat Ron Wyden, and Republican Robert Bennett) that covers everyone, is deficit neutral the first two years, and provides a surplus thereafter (according to the Congressional Budget Office). Your insurance is portable, and insurers could compete across state lines allowing consumers to migrate to the good, lower cost plans just as we do with auto, life, and home insurance. This bill provides real choices by opening up all the plans available to Congress, not the very restrictive four or five choices being floated in the Washington bills, and enjoys broad bipartisan support. This bill is common sense, but there is very little of that in Washington.
The inherent problem with Sen. Max Baucus’ “no public option” bill may be the inherent problem with America: Corporations and many of the wealthy and powerful believe the American people exist to be harvested like pearl bearing mollusks. Then they tell us to clam up.
To view other responses and questions and to post your own, go to bangordailynews.com and look for ClickBack under the Opinion menu. Look for new questions on Tuesday’s editorial page and online.