Thursday, January 14, 2010

Health Care Reform: Get It Over With?

This month Gardner's Gate is proud to present a guest blogger, Dr. David Darrigan, D.O. Dr. Darrigan is a resident at the University of Texas Southwestern emergency medicine program, in his final year. He is currently participating in the "Emergency Medicine Policy, Politics, and Advocacy" elective. Please welcome him in his first guest blog............

Chances are if you are reading this blog, you probably cant get enough of the exciting developments in healthcare reform. That sentiment doesnt hold true with everyone, though. "Healthcare: Get it over with," is the message Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) said she got from voters in her economically ravaged district over the holiday recess. With so many big issues affecting the country right now, Democrats are feeling pressure from various lobbyists and voters to get a compromise and move on.

It looks like the Cadillac Tax on high-end health care plans wont be in the final bill after all. House Democrats have pushed back over the Senates proposal to tax generous health-insurance plans, and it appears they have won. The two sides are trying to form a compromise that would lessen the burden on the middle class. One big issue is that some union members have high-value health plans, and opposition from unions could be politically problematic.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is on the brink of delivering a national health program that some rank alongside the formation of Medicare and Social Security. Sounds like something that would land you a nice page in the history books...but not so fast. In Nevada, that very achievement is imperiling his re-election prospects. The health care debate is very polarizing, and the man at the top of the matter will undoubtedly take most of the heat. Combine this with the conservative nature of Nevada, its tough economy, the 3rd highest unemployment rate in the country, and the 2nd highest foreclosure rate in the country....well lets just say Mr. Reid has more on his plate than you would think.

It was recently reported that from September to December 2009, six of the nation's largest health insurers companies contributed between $10 million and $20 million to the Chamber of Commerce for television advertisements aimed at killing or changing health reform legislation. So you mean to tell me that insurance companies were financing anti-reform messages while publicly endorsing reform effort??? I believe that is called two faced. And I thought they were so honest.....

The White House wants to include a national health-insurance exchange in the health bill. At issue is who would run the new insurance exchanges that would allow consumers to comparison-shop for health coverage. The House version of the health reform calls for the federal government to run a single, national exchange, while the Senate version allows states run their own exchanges.

A few of my own thoughts: So if there is no public option, Cadillac plans dont get taxed, and we are all required to purchase private insurance....then it looks like the big winners will be..... the health insurance companies???? Unfortunate and ironic. I miss the public option before it was even born.

David R. Darrigan, DO

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