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. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

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