I really dislike the moniker "healthcare reform". Our healthcare system is actually a pretty good one... we have some of the best and most highly trained doctors and nurses in the world. It's our health insurance system that needs to be reformed. I've thought this for a long time (well, as long as any 27 year old would care about health insurance). It's absolutely ridiculous that an insurance company will not pay for a diabetic to get a special boot to increase blood flow to his leg but will then pay for the amputation required, because he couldn't afford the boot and his foot basically died. Let's talk about how much more that amputation costs - hospital stay, surgery, prosthetic, rehab, etc. What would be even better is for that insurance company to help said diabetic get rid of the disease (talking type 2 diabetes as a result of being overweight). I realize that is HIGHLY contingent upon the individual, but we should certainly have preventative programs in place that insurance will cover, considering obesity is one of the biggest health concerns in America.
Back to the topic of "healthcare reform" and President Obama's address last night. I agree with the basics of his plan - insurance companies cannot deny you due to a preexisting condition, you cannot be dropped if you get sick, and people without employer-based coverage can join together to negotiate with insurance companies. I am stating this all from memory, so I'm certain there were other things he proposed that I agree with. But, I still don't agree or don't understand HOW this is going to happen. And, I don't agree with other areas, for example, requiring everyone to have health insurance. Although, I think it's a wise choice, how can you require someone to have health insurance? That could be a constitutional violation of each citizen's right to choose. President Obama compared it to state's requiring auto insurance, but I don't see it as the same at all. I drive an automobile, which is a dangerous machine that I could seriously injure or kill myself or others with or could be killed or injured by someone else. Now, car insurance certainly doesn't prevent that, but should you be involved in an accident, you have some level of coverage by way of the insurance. I do think everyone should have health insurance, but constitutionally, I'm not so sure you can require it.
Also, Obama stated that the "estimated cost of this plan will not increase the deficit." Well, pardon me for siding with the nonpartisan CBO on this one, since the administration's "estimates" about the stimulus and unemployment were very wrong. I don't see how requiring better coverage and increasing the number of people covered will be cheaper. Maybe in the long run as people start doing more preventative care, but the CBO doesn't see it this way. And, I just really don't believe that they will cut billions in waste from Medicare and Medicaid to help pay for this plan. The day the government cuts wasteful spending out of our budgets, I'll shave my head.
Also, as ridiculous as it was for the Republican congressman to lash out at the president during a congressional address (really, are we in 3rd grade!?), he DID misstate the truth. The previous bill did create government bureaucracies that would have a say in your health care and did cover illegal immigrants. Perhaps this current proposal does not, but the House Bill did. I wouldn't advise it, but you can read it here if you're bored.
Do I have the answers? Heck no. But, I sure expect our government to work together to come up with a plan that will not bankrupt us and keeps government involvement as little as possible. But, there are still a lot of questions left unanswered after last night. How is this plan going to save money? What would be cut if the costs are what CBO predicts? Will this be like paygo that so many Democrats ran on in 2006 and then abandoned when they wanted to spend money? What about frivolous medical malpractice suits and tort reform?
I could go on and on about this... health spending is 1/6th of our economy. HUGE. Beyond huge. Trillions of dollars... money I can't even fathom, and I manage a several hundred million dollar real estate portfolio and stare at big numbers all day. I hope they get it right...
Edited to add: Forgot to touch on another hot topic. Illegal immigrants who do not pay into our system yet clog up our hospitals and don't pay their bills! Fix our immigration issues and that will take a big bite out of health care costs.