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Health care reform -- exactly what are you supposed to reform?
From a slew of recent stories, here are a few gleanings that made me pause.
"What (politicians) and many other Americans fail to understand is that there's a big difference between universal coverage and actual access to medical care." (Opinion by Michael Tanner and Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute, Los Angeles Times, April 5, 2007) -- That ugly fact is particularly true in central California, where doctors, federal reimbursement and the attention spans of power-broker coastal legislators are in short supply.
"Hospitals and doctors can make more money providing inefficient, mediocre care ... At last count, there were about 7,500 specific tasks Medicare pays for. Telephone consultations are not among them. Nor are email consultations or electronic record keeping. What is true of Medicare is also true of Blue Cross and most employer plans." (Opinion by John C. Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis, Wall Street Journal, April 5, 2007) -- The payment for amputation is better than payment, if there is any, for diabetes prevention. And what was the figure I read -- for every hour a nurse works in the ER he/she has 30 minutes of paperwork to complete?
"If, like many members of Congress, you think seniors should be able to buy cheaper drugs in Canada, you can't have a logical objection to young working families in, for example, California buying a more affordable health plan in Iowa." (Opinion by Robert E. Moffit of the Heritage Foundation, San Francisco Examiner, April 4, 2007) -- What makes sense as health policy in one state is sometimes viewed as illegal in another.
The final word comes from North Carolina real estate agent Vicki H. Readling, quoted in a March 5, 2007 New York Times story: "I don't know which was worse, being told that I had cancer or finding that I could not get insurance."