Health Care Reform

July 30, 2009

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the Renewable Fuels Association, Wal-Mart Stores, Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you. And now for today’s commentary— Health Care Reform and Cap and Trade seem to be the only issues in the spotlight here in this town. Maybe that’s appropriate. It looks like the legislation now on the table would cost a lot of money. Let’s take a look at Health Care Reform. President Obama says, “Here’s what reform will mean for you. It will mean lower costs and more choices and coverage you can count on. Health insurance will save you and your family money.” That really sounds good. So why not do it right now? Wait a minute. Here is what the head of the Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Elmendorf, has to say. “We do not see the sort of fundamental change (in the House bill) that would be necessary to reduce federal health spending.” The bill would push health care costs up. Who are we to believe? They can’t both be right. I choose to believe the Congressional Budget Office. They are non-partisan. Not Republican or Democratic. I believe we do need Health Care Reform to include expanding the coverage to many that don’t have insurance, and we must get control of the rising costs. It’s not surprising that our health care costs more than it should. When you go to the doctor for whatever, upon departure you co-pay $10. Big deal! If that is all it costs, you go in for every little thing – a hang nail, a stomach ache, a blister, a sore arm. It only costs ten dollars. The system encourages over-use of medical care as long as someone else is paying the bill. Also driving up health care costs – your doctor has reason to prescribe all kinds of additional costly tests and procedures. Because, if he doesn’t prescribe all conceivable additional tests, he runs the risk of being sued in case some serious health problems develop. In addition, the doctor, for his added personal protection, must carry liability insurance costing him as much as 100 thousand dollars or more. The health care bill in the House does not provide the right reform. It refuses to address obvious costs as I have described. Any legislation as important as this should be bipartisan. This is not the time to play politics. We should take the time to get it right. We’re talking about the health of our citizens and the solvency of our economy. Until next week, I am John Block from Washington, D.C.