, Kingston, NH

Letters to the Editor

September 5, 2013

Alternatives to Medicaid Expansion

Alternative to Medicaid Expansion

The arguments over Medicaid Expansion in New Hampshire have been stated (and heated), so I won’t repeat them here. But there is one question that has not been answered: what do you propose as an alternative to Medicaid Expansion?

There are several answers:

No Alternate. Don’t implement Medicaid Expansion or anything like it. I should like to point out that the $2.5 billion “already allocated” for NH will then go to other states, making NH a donor state. I’m sure the other states will thank us for that. Secondly, the medical bill for the approximate 58,000 persons who would not have insurance will go straight back to you, increasing (or at least not lowering) the cost of your health insurance.

Private Sector. Go back to the “good old days” and return health care to the HMOs and other private organizations. Since 1996, health care ‘administrative’costs have nearly quadrupled (3.9 times the cost of 1996). During the same period, the cost for direct patient benefit (drugs, care, tests) has gone up only 11 percent. [Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2012 report] Since Obamacare was implemented, health care cost has gone up on 3.9 percent,the lowest increase since 1996. Medicare (a Federal program, lest someone forget) controls costs better than the private sector, spending only 4.3 percent vs. private-sector 6.5 percent. [Source: Congressional Budget Office, 2011]

Dismantle the System: The modern health insurance system appeared gradually after WW II and it wasn’t until the 1950s that the “modern” private health insurance system evolved. HMOs came during the 1970s, and Federal health programs began in 1965. Most medical historians agree that these programs began to emerge slowly as health care became more complex and moved from the home to clinics and hospitals. I don’t think anyone seriously considers completely stopping either public or private insurance at this point: hospitals would go bankrupt except for those that served the rich.

I may have missed some alternative proposals. If you want to have a debate about health care, then bring forward some alternative plans!

Pete McVay


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