45 Million Uninsured

I have been having a friendly little debate with Jon’s Corner of the Whirled and after my last response I went surfing some of the links on my website. I went to TCS Tech Central Station and came across the article “Good Bye, Joan” by Duane D. Freese. It chronicals the fight his sister went through fighting colorectal cancer. She was one of the 45 million uninsured.
Freese says, “The facts are that the goals of universal, affordable, quality health care are not partisan goals. The debate is about methods, not goals.”

President Bush has put in place new prescription drug benefits for seniors — one reason the costs of Medicare for seniors will rise but their cost for health care will go down. Part of that reform also will require seniors get a physical exam when they enter Medicare — a step that should encourage early treatment. The Bush administration also is instituting reforms that will encourage the use of information technology to eliminate the communications gaps that cost so much in money, patient suffering and even lives. And he wants to promote personal health accounts to provide additional coverage to 4.7 million now uninsured Americans. Cost over 10 years: $120 billion.

Kerry’s health plan essentially would create a reinsurance pool for small business, encourage people to sign into plans like those for members of Congress and reputedly help 27 million uninsured. Cost over 10 years: $653 billion, according to Kenneth W. Thorpe of Emory University, who drew up the cost estimates for the Clinton administration’s health proposals, to $1.5 trillion, according to an American Enterprise Institute study directed by Joe Antos, formerly assistant director for health and human resources at the Congressional Budget Office. The National Center for Policy Analysis has provided a middle ground figure for the cost of Kerry’s program, but says unintended economic consequences of the plan could leave as many uninsured in the end as there are today.

The costs of insuring all are staggering from $120 billion to as much as $1.5 trillion over 10 years. Before we spend that kind of money there should be a debate about our priorities in light of the hugh numbers we are spending now whether you calculate that amount on a Unified budget or a GAAP accounting budget. We also need an assessment of Tort reform, which the democrats oppose which is costing $250 billion per year.

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