I would like to respond to Congressman Bill Cassidy’s letter to the editor dated Sept. 11, endorsing the Romney/Ryan Medicare plan.
A meaningful analysis of the health care debate must start with this fundamental inquiry: Are all Americans entitled to access to quality affordable health care?
If the answer is yes, then the discussion necessarily shifts to determining how do we make it affordable.
Despite each of the major parties’ attempts to differentiate themselves, the health care plans offered up by Obama and Romney/Ryan have the shared feature that both will eventually bankrupt America due to their failure to meaningfully address the ever-escalating costs associated with health care.
The fact is that health care costs have increased faster than the economy as a whole for 31 of the past 40 years.
A recent report by the Institute of Medicine found that 30 cents of every health care dollar is wasted in the form of unnecessary services, inefficient delivery of care, excessive administrative costs, inflated prices, prevention failures, and fraud.
The result: $750 billion wasted health care dollars each year.
This number is staggering when you consider that the amount of waste in the heath care industry is greater than the total Department of Defense annual budget!
This annual waste in the health care industry is greater than the 10 years of savings promised under the Obama or Romney/Ryan plans.
Clearly, these escalating costs will not be reversed without clear-eyed serious reform.
To solve these problems is going to require a move away from fee-for-services reimbursement schemes, greater patient involvement in health care decisions, increased transparency in costs and outcomes and more cooperation between the health care providers by the enhanced use of modern technologies.
For more information, I invite the readers to visit the National Academies’ website (national-academies.org). I ask everyone to avoid getting caught up in the idea that the solution lies in either of the current proposals offered by the Republicans or Democrats.
It is going to require a paradigm shift in the way the health care industry conducts its business.