Politics and Our Health Care System

By Jeff Adams, July 6, 2015

As I read an email from my congressman, I was reminded how little chance our country has of fixing our health care system before it becomes a major catastrophe, which will probably happen in slightly over a decade. Our politicians in both parties are putting their own careers ahead of the well-being of the nation. Misleading media campaigns confuse the public and allow politicians to confuse people and convince them what a catastrophe our lives will be unless we follow that politician’s agenda.

The latest email tried to convince me that my congressman was better able to determine what medical treatments and procedures were good for patients than the physician community. Really? It was part of the scare tactics standardly used to show that ObamaCare is the downfall of our society. ObamaCare has many faults but is better than what we had previously and better than any alternative proposal that I have seen since.

The specific issue brought up by my congressman was the Independent Payment Advisory Board. The email indicated that this board was the root of all evil. In reality, this board was set up in an effort to help fix our broken health care system, specifically Medicare, since our politicians have been unable to work together in a civilized manner. The IPAB will not eliminate necessary care but is designed to lessen the 35% of health care costs that are fraud, waste, and abuse (i.e., not necessary). Visit the Kaiser Health News website to read a good story regarding the IPAB. The story is at http://khn.org/news/ipab-faq/.

Remember, health care costs need to be brought under control soon. Employers have been dropping coverage for employees over the past couple of decades due to increasing costs. Individuals who are not wealthy cannot purchase individual coverage without the government subsidies, which will erode over time if health care costs remain out of control. Chances are that your favorite government programs have already lost all or much of their funding over the past couple of decades as health care costs increased from 13% to 27% of the federal budget during that period. In the early 1990s, economists said that health care costs would never exceed 20% of our economy because, if they did, our economy would suffer catastrophic issues. Since then, health care costs have increased from 12% to over 18% of our economy, and our economy has shown signs of fracturing.

I am an independent voter, so I have no political affiliation. I ask that politicians and the public refrain from making our health care system a huge political issue and join together to try to fix our broken system. Failure to do so will lead to catastrophic results in a little over a decade. This is not a Democratic issue. This is not a Republican issue. This is a survival issue.