Health Care Policy
I think both major parties have failed miserably in addressing:
a) the ever-increasing high cost of ordinary health insurance (family coverage cost now can reach $10,000 a year) and of Medicare coverage for fixed-income seniors (premiums paid by seniors will increase a whopping 17% this coming year alone, on top of 14% last year),
b) the lack of availability of group health care coverage for many employees,
c) the lack of portability of health insurance policies,
d) the problem of inadequate and/or expensive drug coverage,
e) the lack of choices for consumers who want and can afford coverage that fits their needs,
f) the rising number of people who have no coverage, and
g) the need for catastrophic coverage for everyone, something Ike proposed that still hasn't become a reality.
One reason health insurance is expensive is that drug companies' ads suggest there's a drug that'll solve every problem. Doctors are inclined to prescribe a drug if a patient requests it, because the patient may switch to a different gate-keeper if the doctors refuse. Politicians' ads suggest that if elected the politicians will solve the problem. I think experience with politicians' campaign promises over the last decade teaches us to be skeptical of those promises.
Should we allow importation of drugs from Canada and Great Britain and other countries? My opponent is enthusiastic in his support for that, one of the few areas in which he has broken with the President. Consumers ought to be able to import drugs from Canada and Great Britain (and even Norway!) without fear of criminal prosecution -- but a) it's unfair to local pharmacies, who employ many people, for the governor and others connected with the government to get involved in promoting importation, and b) it's misleading to suggest that importation on a vast scale will have a significant impact on the problem of high drug costs (ask any respected economist). Importation as a remedy is akin to applying the proverbial band-aid to a deep wound that needs disinfecting.
Similarly, while there is a need for some so-called tort or civil-liability reform, I think it's misleading of the Bush campaign, and my opponent, to suggest that any reasonable tort reform that preserves our rights will have a significant impact on the health care and health insurance crises.
I make no promises other than that:
a) I will look to the thinking of the best analysts and creative thinkers and economists in addressing the problems enumerated above,
b) I will keep an open mind regarding any and all reasonable proposals, from any quarter,
c) I will not do anything to diminish the coverage people on Medicare are receiving.
I also intend to advocate government-provided automatic across-the-board catastrophic high-deductible umbrella coverage for every American, regardless of income. No one who has led a financially-prudent lifestyle and saved money rather than spent it on frivolities ought to be at risk of "losing it all" because of some sudden, unexpected medical catastrophe. We ought to quit thinking along class lines and address the health care and health insurance crises so that all Americans, including those who pay no taxes and those who pay high taxes, receive covered access to adequate health care, with no one who has accumulated assets through hard work needing to fear being bankrupted by personal illness or accident or as a result of the illness or accident of a spouse or child.
I remind everyone that our pre-emptive invasion of Iraq, which I opposed as early as late 2001, was not only unjustified and poorly-planned but is exceedingly expensive and wasteful, costing us hundreds of billions of dollars, the loss of nearly a thousand soldiers thus far, great personal sacrifices by thousands of soldiers and their families, and the loss of our hard-earned good reputation around the world, even the support of our closest allies. (Do you think Ike, the commander and coordinator of all Allied forces, would have failed so miserably at dealing with our allies?) Moreover, the war has not only not made our country more secure but actually has made it less secure by diverting resources from other public needs, including defense against domestic terrorism and, not least among those needs, the need to reform health care and improve health care coverage.
Copyright (c) 2004 by Burton Randall Hanson. Prepared & published by candidate on his own behalf and at his own expense. Candidate may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Candidate does not solicit or accept contributions or endorsements.