Base closings and health care

June 30, 2008
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We’ve reached the season when companies start lining up employee health care coverage for the following year.

Like prior years, companies will complain about skyrocketing costs and workers will complain about getting fewer benefits. Study after study suggests both parties will be right. Americans pay a lot and get little.

If the ongoing conflict and gridlock we’ve experienced is any indication, the problem won’t be solved for a long time.

Have things gotten so bad that it’s time to consider a commission similar to the ones that helped lawmakers decide which military bases to close?

The commissions are stocked with knowledgeable people from across a spectrum of backgrounds and political persuasions. They return with recommendations, and Congress then is obligated to vote the recommendations up or down.

Because Congress can’t tinker with the recommendations, political influence over sacred cows is minimized and lawmakers who want action but fear casting a vote are offered cover (“Some specifics were flawed, but the overall plan was so well thought out that I voted for it.”).

Commissions have helped the country get through hard decisions on which bases no longer were needed. Could such a commission help fix health care?

  • I think you have misinterpreted much of this dilemma. What Americans want is the Cadillac of health care at Chevy prices. Go to any hospital or new medical facility and what you see are plush, grandiose facilities. Then when people have potential medical issues, the doctors want to have performed a cadre of expensive tests. Remember, this used to be primarily doctor's interpretations of symptoms.

    Naturally, the customer wants the insurance company to pay for these tests, all of them, whether really necessary or not. We have great tools, but, folks, this all comes at a great cost.

    The insurance companies are at a huge disadvantage, because remember they are trying to make a profit. So, consequently we're seeing price increases of around 15% each year. Does it make sense, then, that the medical providers would continue to build these high end facilities? Look at St. Francis new south campus as a great example. Who will pay for all of this?

    The customer wants the insurance companies to pay. Any they will, but only by increasing the rates to the customer by 15% a year. How is a commission going to stop this runaway train?

    The answer is that Americans must be willing to change their habits:

    1. Quit eating anything you want anytime you want. LOSE WEIGHT.
    2. Make healthier choices of what you eat.
    3. EXERCISE should be mandatory for participating in the health care system.
    4. Take responsibility for your current health condition.
    5. Don't take everything your doctor takes as the gospel, ask if that test is necessary, or what is the downside if you don't have it done?
    6. Shop prices with doctors and health care providers. Perhaps you can get that test done somewhere else at a lower price.
    7. Investigate alternative ways to heal yourself. For example, if you have kidney stones, do you have to have a $10,000 procedure to break them up or can you find optional treatment through using herbal options?

    We all want the best and expect the best. We have the best health care in the world. But, it comes at a cost, too great a cost for most Americans. And unless we are will to make changes, individually, we can't expect things to change. This isn't the job of another government sponsored and funded commission.
  • commissions won't get it because the experts don't get it. the presidnetial candidates, with all their
  • Half my money goes to insurance, half goes to gas... what is left for Moe?

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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.