Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Who will bring it up?

Despite the health care industry's enormous role in the economy, there has been little serious attention given to the rising costs and falling coverage by the administration with the exception of programs and laws that benefit few besides the affected companies bottom lines.

Health insurers and health care companies need to make their processes more transparent to justify their exponentially increasing rates. Administrations need to justify their own policies that not only disproportionally effect the neediest, but will remove an essential foil to the increasingly opaque and monopolistic health care industry.

A service as essential as health care falls into the range of the public good, just as we protect the essential position of a free press and access to the courts, the government needs to protect citizens' access to efficient and affordable health care.

Expanding coverage through versions of universal health care has been suggested by many, but until we can find a way to deal with the twin problems of rising rates charged by insurers as well as the entrenched antipathy towards a government role in the health care industry, the possibility of any form of efficient and broadly available health insurance is slim to none.

Here in Missouri the rising costs have pushed more and more families to seek some form of assistance in covering their bills, assistance that is become more and more scarce as the Blunt administration slashes programs that provided assistance and coverage for those who need it. The governments are attempting to change the system completely in order to make it as difficult as possible to return to previous levels of coverage. In fact, Medicaid will be eliminated completely by 2008.

Business interests are beginning to wake up to the economic realities of the current health care problems. Driving home the essential economic importance of affordable health care is where the attention should be focused.

The cuts made in Missouri are expected to cost the state 10,000 jobs and $700 million in economic activity (I recommend reading the whole report for a full understanding of the impact). This following a period in which the health care industry was the only industry that grew during the recent recession.

The current actions by the Blunt administration echo attitudes in conservative administrations around the country. The moves are made for ideological reasons despite their assertions that fiscal solvency is all they are interested in. Their actions will cost Missouri money, jobs and perhaps even lives.

- Murphy

No comments: