Friday, January 22, 2010

Market Reform - Five Health Care Reforms That Make Sense

Prelude: As readers of this blog know, I periodically reprint material written by other physicians who make sense to me. Here is an example.

Massachusetts, the bluest of states in our union, stunned the nation on Tuesday when it voted to end Washington's unbridled spending and plan for government-run health care. Americans still want health care reform, but they are looking for clear, patient-centered, fiscally responsible solutions. There's a way to make this work, says Dr. C.L. Gray, president of Physicians for Reform.

Sell insurance across state lines:

• State mandates drive up costs; health insurance for a 25-year-old male in New Jersey costs nearly six times what it does in Kentucky, largely because of state mandates.

• Allowing businesses to purchase insurance across state lines empowers consumers, not Washington, and does not cost a dime.
Let individuals purchase health insurance with pre-tax dollars:

Insurance companies serve businesses, not patients; businesses purchase employee health insurance with pre-tax dollars while individuals purchase insurance with post-tax dollars making their insurance far more expensive.

• This reform lets patients buy products that meet their needs and makes insurers more accountable to patients.

Encourage Health Care Savings Accounts (HSAs):

• HSAs reduce health care costs without rationing (cutting Medicare); they also let patients control their own money, decreasing health care spending by 13 percent.

• During 2005 and 2006, traditional insurance rose 7.3 percent annually while lower cost / higher deductable plans combined with HSAs rose only 2.7 percent annually.

End abusive medical litigation:

• Frivolous litigation drives physicians out of medicine; bringing tens of millions of new patients into the system requires more physicians, not fewer.

• Frivolous litigation reform lowers cost and improves access to care; Americans spend approximately $124 billion every year because physicians practice defensive medicine.

Cover the uninsured:

• We can insure the uninsured without expanding American debt; approximately 25 percent of patients who visit the emergency rooms do not have health care coverage.

• A system of tax credits can help the uninsured purchase coverage; this would cost approximately $80 billion annually.
Source: Dr. C.L. Gray, "Five Health Care Reform Solutions That Make Sense," Fox News, January 21, 2010

About Dr. C. L. Gray

Dr. C. L. Gray is a practicing Board certified internal medicine physician in North Carolina. Previously, Gray served as Chief Medical Resident at Bassett Healthcare, an affiliate of Columbia University. Upon completion of his training in 2000, he received the E. Donnall Thomas Research Award, presented annually for exceptional research. Gray has two scientific publications to his credit. He graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1995 where he served as president of the Christian Medical and Dental Society (CMDS) and as an honorary member of the CMDS graduate board of ethics.

Gray earned his combined Bachelor of Science degree from University of Minnesota in the areas of electrical engineering, life sciences, and officer training. He was recognized with numerous Air Force ROTC awards for academic excellence. His undergraduate research led to six patent disclosures in the area of fiber optics, robotics, and data acquisition.

Gray's interests include medical ethics, politics, philosophy, medical missions, and writing. Since 1998, he has completed ten international medical trips to Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Romania, India, South Africa, and Zambia. The Battle for America’s Soul, Gray’s upcoming book, is the result of years of research and analysis of the history and philosophy of medical ethics leading to Post-Hippocratic medicine in Western culture, as well as our present cultural divide. His second book, Courage to Live, explores the basis for hope while living in a fallen world

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