Commentators Question Some Health Reform Proposals
Summaries of the opinion pieces addressing health care reform strategies appear below.
- Michael Cannon/Michael Tanner, Los Angeles Times: What "politicians and many other Americans fail to understand is that there's a big difference between universal coverage and actual access to medical care," Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute, and Tanner, director of health and welfare studies at the institute, write in a Times opinion piece. They continue, "Everyone agrees that far too many Americans lack health insurance" but "covering the uninsured comes about as a byproduct of getting other things right." Cannon and Tanner write that the "real danger" of "our national obsession with universal coverage" is that it "will lead us to neglect reforms -- such as enacting a standard health insurance deduction, expanding health savings accounts and deregulating insurance markets -- that could truly expand coverage, improve quality and make care affordable" (Cannon/Tanner, Los Angeles Times, 4/5).
- John Goodman, Wall Street Journal: "Hospitals and doctors can make more money providing inefficient, mediocre care" because "high-quality, low-cost care is not financially rewarding," Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, writes in a Journal opinion piece. Because the health care payment system "is completely dominated by government," private insurers "tend to pay the way the government pays, and providers who break Medicare rules in order to better serve the patient risk being barred from the entire Medicare program," Goodman writes. He concludes, "Once government agencies jump-start the entrepreneurial process ... private insurers are likely to follow suit. In this way, government could promote entrepreneurship instead of stifling it" (Goodman, Wall Street Journal, 4/5).
- Robert Moffit, Washington Examiner: Legislation (S 1019) sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) is "a big-picture rethinking of how the $2.2 trillion public-private conglomerate known as America's health care system should operate," Moffit, director of the Heritage Foundation's Center for Health Policy Studies, writes in an Examiner opinion piece. According to Moffit, Coburn's proposal will keep "what is best in the American health care" system, including "high-quality specialized medical care, the comparatively quick and effective treatment of patients and a level of medical professionalism that is the envy of the world." Moffit continues, "At the same time, it fixes what is clearly broken: slow and ponderous government bureaucracies, an excess of red tape, and tax and regulatory barriers that keep individuals and families from getting and keeping insurance of their own choosing" (Moffit, Washington Examiner, 4/4).