Thursday, October 06, 2005

On Universal Coverage

Yesterday morning’s Boston Globe carried a column by Eileen McNamara about the movement in Massachusetts to declare quality medical care to be a basic human right and to guarantee coverage to the uninsured.

It stimulated me to send the following e-mail to McNamara:

Four factors stand in the way of achieving universal health insurance coverage:

- The uninsured are neither visibly suffering nor politically active in the cause.

- The health care delivery system is financially healthy despite providing large amounts of unreimbursed care.

- Covering the uninsured would require a substantial increase in taxes.

- Covering the uninsured would also infuse large amounts of additional money into a health care delivery system that is undisciplined, unaccountable, and grossly inefficient.

Reforming the health care delivery system is the place to start. A disciplined and accountable system will be able to provide high quality care for everybody with less money than it is spending now.

Bringing the cost of health care (and, therefore, of health insurance) under control will soften the political opposition to employer mandates and will allow the new taxes required for universal coverage to be offset by reductions in the cost of health insurance.

But reform will not happen until the public, including people like you, insist upon it.

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