To the editor:
I am writing in response to Dr. Raymond Kodonawy's opinion of June 11, in the local media. Dr. Kodonawy made a few correct assessments of health care and health insurance. However, for the most part, he was incorrect or expressed a point of view which will not move us forward in this current hotly contested environment.
Yes, health insurance does not equal health care. In fact, you cannot ensure your health or access to health care today. Insurance is only an instrument which might or might not get you what you need.
We often take insurance for granted and never question what it means, how we should use it, or how it affects the industry. We have added the community rating, group rating, deductible, co-pay, individual mandate, and other restrictions to help make it affordable. However we should all be responsible, know where, why, and how we use our insurance. Clearly there are excess users and excess charges. Approximately 20 percent of insured abuse the privilege and get more than they need or things they don't need. 50 to 60 percent of individuals get about what they need and another 20 percent have no insurance and get little or no health care.
Dr. Kodonawy erroneously said that PPACA (federal government) will increase what we pay and hand over to corporations. This is incorrect and exactly why the PPACA is having difficulty.
The opponents are in favor of allowing insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, and other vendors benefits without control. These will all have to comply with controls to keep down costs when PPACA is implemented. Patients will win since they will have more control of their health care dollars, employers and small business will gain, and actual money spent on health care by individuals will decrease.
Currently 50 million people lack health insurance and have little access to health care. Those with no health care lose 20 years of longevity. Today it is estimated that 125 people will die daily because they lack health care.
We have a biased Republican controlled Congress which has always been against health care initiatives. They opposed Medicare and Medicaid with similar acts. Their public opposition includes real lies which any individual could check, i.e. PPACA gives tax breaks to small business to help with health insurance and employers with 100 or less employees can join an exchange which helps them negotiate insurance rates. Yet the leader of our Republican Congress said the PPACA will destroy small business.
Physicians feel Medicare rates are low. This however is no reason to cast dispersion on the only system (other than the VA) that has provided measurable control and sensibility to our health care system.
If the PPACA is struck down, there should be demand for a Medicare type system for all. It is understandable that physicians feel that they are not properly rewarded. However we took an oath to serve. Perhaps society does not value our services as much as they do Hedge Fund managers, CEOs, actors, and athletes, etc. However this discussion will not serve us well. Physicians are part of the 99 percent and they should join their patients and advocate for them.
I am reminded that in the past we did not do well when this was contested heavily. When patients start checking their medical bills, start asking proper questions and discuss the graveness of the situation I am sure they will be unhappy.
Lewis Robinson, M.D.