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Government should stay out of the health care arena

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

I have just finished reading KITZHABER’S CURE. We all realize that Oregon and the United States in general have not fully come to grips with our health care dilemma. There are many ideas floating around — all the way from socialized medicine to free-market medicine.  And, there appears to be no consensus on the issue.

I do have a few observations that were not clearly defined in your article:

If employers were no longer able to offer health care plans and provided additional compensation so that employees could purchase their own medical plans, that could be a step in the right direction.  It also would be helpful if employers and employees were encouraged to use catastrophic coverage plans rather than plans that cover everything. Along with that, employers and employees could be encouraged to take advantage of medical savings account plans.

If government got out of the business of dictating coverage, more people could afford to purchase policies. (Every time another coverage is mandated, the cost of these policies increases, making them less affordable to lower-income families.) There will always be a number of people who do not want to pay for coverage. That is their right. But it is not their right to be subsidized by others. This primarily refers to younger workers who, for the most part, do not encounter major health problems. If government is to subsidize medical care for the truly poor, community health clinics would appear to be the most cost-effective way of meeting their routine needs (including preventive medicine services).

So, where do we go from here?  I don’t know. But we will be better off the further we move away from government-mandated programs and the closer we move to a free-market economy for health care.

Don McDaniel

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