Wieffering: Health care overhaul aims to heal a creaky system

  • Article by: ERIC WIEFFERING , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 26, 2012 - 10:48 PM
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  • Comments

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tacyrayMar. 26, 12 9:30 PM

I am a small business owner who pays $900/month for my family's health insurance. Thanks to Obamacare, I no longer worry that we may lose health insurance due to a serious illness or "pre-existing condition." Obamacare is pro-business and encourages entrepreneurship. It's nice to see someone recognize that.

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tacyrayMar. 26, 12 9:35 PM

Thanks also for pointing out that Republicans used to support the mandate. It makes sense that the party of personal responsibility would support the requirement to pay for your own health insurance if you can afford it...and not encourage free rides at the emergency room. Gee, I wonder what changed?

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LicoriceMar. 27, 12 6:14 AM

Thank you, Mr. Wieffering. This is the most common-sense opinion piece I have seen on the topic in recent weeks leading up to the Supreme Court deliberations. It is so disappointing that the U.S. chamber is putting so much effort in opposition to the health care law.

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quitwhiningMar. 27, 12 6:15 AM

Under our current system the average person/family pays more every year to get coverage that is worse (more copays). You are also left out if you lose your job or get sick or have a pre-existing condition. The health care reform is not perfect but at least tries to start fixing those problems. The repubs are against it but offer NO alternative that will address these problems. Reform could have saved more money by using single payer or public option but the repubs shot that down too. What they seem to want is to keep covering less people every year AND keep costs going up.

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jload027Mar. 27, 12 7:56 AM

What an informative and timely piece. Thanks for writing it. I think it should be widely circulated, since I haven't seen much like it nationally. I'll do my part!

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BVMannMar. 27, 12 9:33 AM

The situation is much worse now than in 1993 (or course, because nothing has been done), yet the political environment has flip-flopped to oppose doing anything. I don't get it. What is wrong with people?

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allieaddieMar. 27, 1210:27 AM

Where is the mention of lawsuits? Where is the mention of people going to the doctor every time they sneeze? Of course people with unhealthy lifestyles such as smoking should pay more. All other insurance is based on risk. Where is the mention of how hard it will be to get an appoint or the long waiting lines for care. You don't seem many articles here that look at both sides of the story!

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rdnblueMar. 27, 1211:36 AM

People always seem to confuse "health care" with "health insurance". Health care is your family's doctor. Health Insurance is a person behind a desk doling out as little as they possibly can to pay your doctor. That said, the only reason Republicans don't like the overhaul is very, very simple: They don't personally and politically like Barack Obama at all and they have connected the plan to him. The overhaul was originally proposed by Republicans back in the 90's. The Affordable Care Act was the ultimate compromise...the majority of Democrats WANT single payer. To them, taking care of your own people is as American as apple pie. But they're conceding all of that just to even fix the system partway by supporting a plan created by Republicans. Because this plan was grudgingly supported by the Democrats, the Republicans that created it ran away from it and began smearing it because they simply don't want to work with the other side at all on anything. They see any progress as a "win" for the other team. If you tune out all the talking heads and look at the simple facts, that's exactly what has happened here politically with the Affordable Care Act. It's a fully privatized system that attempts to solve the problems by getting as many people on board and paying into (albeit many different) private insurance pools, and using regulations to keep those companies more accountable than they have been. Because that's right in line with what had been Republican philosophy, Republicans had to essentially try and spin it as some sort of "stealth single payer" system and confuse a lot of people.

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wayne5040Mar. 27, 1211:45 AM

All of the healtcare debate that I have read or heard ignores the basic problem of why healthcare costs so much in this country. The reason is simple: we are an unhealthy people! Look at some basic facts: there is an epidemic of obesity in the US which leads to a host of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, increased risk of cancer, etc... If you look at our fast food diet and lack of excersize and high stress lifestyles, there is little doubt why our healthcare costs are what they are. Plus, if you factor in going to the doctor for every little cold/flu/etc... (as a previous poster mentioned), then there is no mystery in why our costs are going up and up. I travel to other countries, and generally speaking, our population is way overweight comparatively. Our lifestyle is built around the car, so as a result we walk less and exercise less. The result is bad health that leads to rising healthcare costs. It has nothing to do with the employer, the employee, the healthcare provider, or the government. If you think having the government take over healthcare will reduce or even control costs, you are delusional. I am an engineer and I know the best solution to a problem is the simple solution. The simple solution in this case is for individuals to pay more out-of-pocket expenses for their healthcare so that they take responsibility for their own health. If you are overweight, lose weight to reduce your risks of disease and higher costs. If there is no penalty for bad health habits (poor diet, lack of excersise, etc..) then how will we distribute the resulting costs? right now, someone pays their copay of $30-$50 per visit and they don't really care what the costs are for their bad health habits. Until people start to pay for more themselves, then nothing will change. Another factor in costs is our aging population, which can't be changed. Unless the gov't takes over then they will just deny certain procedures to the elderly, which will reduce the numbers...

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chuckdancerMar. 27, 12 4:41 PM

Nice article, but this is purely political and nothing else matters. The health care reform could be the perfect piece of legislation and solve all of our woes but since Obama supports it they will stop at nothing to destroy it. The elites went all in on destroying this presidency and the country can go to hell.

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