IBJOpinion

Don't blame insurance for costs

September 19, 2009
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IBJ Letters To The Editor

The greatest barrier to accessing health insurance coverage is cost. Skyrocketing medical care costs are the key factor in rising health insurance premiums that put the cost of health insurance coverage beyond the reach of millions of Americans.

I urge you, as comprehensive health care reform is considered before Congress, to realize that the best way to expand access to health insurance is to work toward containing health care costs. America needs health insurance coverage we can afford!

Health care costs are not expensive because of insurance; rather, insurance is expensive because of the rising cost of medical care, and by the increased demand created by unhealthy lifestyle choices. Insurance companies are not simply increasing premiums to increase their profits, but to cover the expanding cost of health care.

PricewaterhouseCoopers calculated the health insurance industry’s profit at barely 3 cents per dollar. New government programs and mandates, albeit designed to help Americans gain access to health care coverage, would significantly raise health care costs and spending for the federal government as well as for millions of American businesses and families.

Thus, health care coverage would be just as unaffordable as it is today.

America must turn its attention to wellness programs and improving system inefficiencies as a starting point for making health care affordable. Nearly 50 percent of health care costs in America are attributed to individual behaviors, such as smoking, alcohol abuse and obesity. We must establish wellness programs that work to help us cut our unhealthy lifestyle choices. Providing incentives to strive to eat more nutritiously and be more active and healthy will result in fewer doctor visits and medical procedures.

We also must focus on our current system’s tendency to reward quantity—not quality—of care. Duplication of procedures and overuse of high-end procedures in situations where they add little value just further increase costs. We need to work on increasing communications between doctors through electronic medical record technology, establish comparative effectiveness research that helps determine when more expensive treatments are needed, and provide incentives for doctors and medical facilities to improve system inefficiencies and eliminate costly errors.

Health system reform and reducing costs can no longer ignore the need for balanced and sensible medical-liability reform.

We cannot simply open doors to health care; we must strive to make sure health care is affordable. We need to work toward containing health care costs, not just expanding health care.

_________

Susan Rider
Employee benefits account manager
Gregory & Appel Insurance

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  1. Now if he'd just stay there...

  2. Daniel - what about the many US citizens who do NOT follow what the Bible teaches? The Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others who are all American citizens entitled to all rights as Americans?? This issue has NOTHING to do with "What the Bible says..." Keep all Churches separate from State! Pence's ongoing idiocy continues to make Indiana look like a backwards, homophobic state in the eyes of our nation. Can't we move on to bigger issues - like educating our kids?

  3. 1. IBJ should link to the referenced report. We are in the age of electronic media...not sharing information is lazy. Here is a link http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Blue_Ribbon_Panel_Report_July_9_2014.pdf 2. The article should provide more clarity about the make-up of this panel. The commenters are making this item out to be partisan, it does not appear the panel is partisan. Here is a list of the panel which appears to be balanced with different SME to add different perspectives http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=138116?formation_id=189603 3. It suggests a by-pass, I do not see where this report suggests another "loop". 4. Henry, based on your kneejerk reaction, we would be better off if you moved to another state unless your post was meant as sarcasm in which case I say Well Done. 5. The article and report actually indicates need to improve rail and port infrastructure in direct contradiction to Shayla commentary. Specifically, recommendation is to consider passenger rail projects... 6. People have a voice with their elected officials. These are suggestions and do not represent "crony capitalism", etc. The report needs to be analyzed and the legislature can decide on priorities and spending. Don't like it, then vote in a new legislature but quit artificially creating issues where there are none! People need to sift through the politics and provide constructive criticism to the process rather than making uninformed comments in a public forum based on misinformation. IBJ should work harder to correct the record in these forums when blatant errors or misrepresentations are made.

  4. Joe ... Marriage is defined in the Bible ... it is mentioned in the Bible often. Marriage is not mentioned once in the US or Indiana Constitution ...

  5. Daniel - Educate me please: what does the Bible have to do with laws? If the government wasn't in the business of marriage to begin with, then it wouldn't have to "define" marriage at all. Marriage could be left as a personal, religious, or otherwise unregulated action, with no ties to taxes, legal status, etc. Then people could marry whomever they want, and all this silliness would go away. Remember to vote Libertarian in November.

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