While I do not agree with the author that "we agree that basic health insurance should be universal" if what he means is that I should be forced to pay for yours, I do think there's a lot of sense in what he's saying. If we're going to be forced by Obama and Co. to buy a bill of goods, shouldn't it at least be the bill most likely to provide some tangible benefit AND be sustainable in some basic sense?
If you've raised children over the past 40 years, you've seen "Sesame Street." For years, "Sesame Street" had a segment featuring this song: "One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn't belong."
There were always four objects. Three of them were very similar, while the fourth was distinct. Young viewers were challenged to discern which object was different.
My kids are older now, but as a physician, I have been reminded of "Sesame Street" as Congress undertakes debate over health reform, especially the so-called public option -- a government-funded and managed insurance plan supporters claim will provide choice and competition in health care.
Public option proponents like to predict that this new optional insurance will work "just like Medicare, but for everyone," a line that sends chills of sheer terror through medical providers.
Medicare has four parts: Parts A through C and Part D, the fairly recent prescription drug benefit implemented by the Bush administration. Let's put Medicare to the Sesame Street test. A and B are wholly government-funded and operated. C is different, but still government-run. All are effectively single-payer systems.
In contrast, Part D is federally funded and organized, but administered by private insurance providers. Market competition impacts its costs. Which of these parts is not like the others?
Read this physician's answer and the implications here: