The Societal Ramifications & Consequences of the Making and Taking of Food

This site dedicated to the matters of food above and beyond the mere satiation of flavors on one's palette; but rather the ramifications to society from the consequences of how its' production, distribution, and nutrition affect living systems. How we sow, reap, harvest, legislate and base our economic systems on food is key to how we ultimately treat each other and the Earth.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Public health plan should be an Option in Health Care Reform

Opinion Impact - The Oregonian -

Posted by DR. DAVID V. EVANS May 25, 2009 06:00AM

As a family physician in Madras, I share The Oregonian's skepticism toward the recent promises that health insurers and "big pharma" made to President Barack Obama and the country. However, unlike The Oregonian and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., I strongly support a key component of Obama's health care reform campaign pledge: the choice of a public health insurance option.

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and 22 of his Senate colleagues got it right when they recently wrote Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., that a new public health insurance plan is a "core component" of national health care reform.
It is time for the private insurance industry to stop coming between me and my patients. With private plans, I see patients struggling to get the care they need because an insurance company representative with limited or no medical background says "no" to something I advise. Their decisions are based on profit margin and not on medical evidence. The time I spend calling insurance companies for permission could be much better spent with my patients.
A public health plan option means choice, and that's a good thing. Defenders of the status quo who stand to lose by this competition are trying to label it "a government takeover." Nonsense. If people are happy with their current plans, they can keep what they have.
The choice of a public health insurance plan will ensure that patients can see their regular doctor and go to their local hospital. All providers would continue to operate under the same ownership and leadership as they do now.
Opponents of reform try to scare patients into believing that a public health plan option would limit their choice of provider. But what do you have now? The notion that choice exists with private plans is just false. Recently, a privately insured patient came to me and complained that she could not see the urologist she wanted to see because her provider of choice was not "in network." If this patient were on Medicare she would have access to any urologist in central Oregon.
Like many of my colleagues here in Oregon and across the country, I know that the private, employer-based insurance system we have now is not the answer to our health insurance woes. Tens of thousands of doctors and millions of patients support a public health insurance option.
The choice of a public health insurance plan will level the health care playing field. Whether you live in a rural or urban area, work for a multinational company or a small business, are self-employed or have been recently laid off, your coverage will be there. Patients will have choice, control and peace of mind that their coverage will always be there at a price they can afford.
Dr. David V. Evans is president
of the National Physicians Alliance.
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Opinion Impact - The Oregonian -