Be informed about healthcare reform

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

To the editor: I read Sen. Richard Burr’s description of the Patients’ Choice Act he co-authored and was intrigued enough to research his proposal.

Elements of his bill, as well as Democrat-sponsored bills, make sense and can have a positive impact on healthcare in the U.S.

Medical malpractice reform, prioritizing healthy lifestyles and preventative medicine and eliminating waste and inefficiency in the current system are the “low hanging fruit” in this debate.

The heart of the conflict is the chasm between the “public option” and healthcare “Exchange” concepts as proposed by Sen. Burr.

Initially, the “Exchange” looks appealing; look closer and its flaws show. Insurers “participating in the exchange” will be prohibited from rating customers based on pre-existing conditions and prior health histories. Insurers choosing to remain outside of the Exchange may continue to do business as usual.

The sickest people will be forced into an Exchange plan for coverage, forcing up premiums; the healthiest will remain insured outside the Exchange with lower premiums. Those least able to pay will end up with the most expensive coverage. If a person can’t afford health insurance now, they won’t be able to afford it in the Exchange despite promised tax credits.

My purpose is not to be critical of one approach. None of the proposals are the panacea their authors promise. As citizens, we must become informed beyond sound bites and overheated rhetoric and demand our legislators overcome blind partisanship, become the “statesmen/women” they profess to be and resolve this national embarrassment.