By Harriette Seiler
Louisville Courier-Journal, April 19, 2012
Despite certain positive and/or promised benefits in the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), there is one major flaw that mars the whole endeavor: the legislation keeps the private insurers in the mix.
We will never be able to contain costs as long as those for-profit corporations dominate the system. The companies are legally required to serve their shareholders. Our premiums will rise and patients’ care will be cut in order to benefit stockholders. And should the U.S. Supreme Court approve the mandate, the insurers will profit from the sale of policies in the state “exchanges.”
As 2001 Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz has explained, the free market does not work in health care. Other advanced industrialized nations understand this: they offer publicly funded health care to all their people while supporting capitalism in other areas of the economy.
Let’s improve Medicare and eliminate its projected shortfall. Disallow the private Advantage plans that cost taxpayers more than regular Medicare. Fix Plan D by negotiating with drug companies and buying in bulk. Set fair reimbursement rates for doctors and hospitals. Then expand Medicare to everyone. No mandate needed, no constitutional question to be resolved.
Harriette Seiler resides in Louisville.