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Politics, life, and other things that matter

Consumer Reports Debunks Right-Wing Health Care Myths

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 29, 2009

As follows:

Now that health-care reform is a possibility, the forces of opposition are gearing up. Anti-reform campaigns with names like Patients United Now, Partnership to Improve Patient Care, and Conservatives for Patients’ Rights are trying to make meaningful reform sound dangerous. Here are five of the worst fears you might hear—and the facts as we see them under the reforms we recommend.

Fear: Health reform will let faceless government bureaucrats come between you and your doctor.

Fact: Private health insurance already comes between you and your doctor. And because each company sets its own rules, it’s hard to imagine a more bureaucratic system. Some insurers decide which doctors you can see, which hospitals you can visit, and what drugs you can take and still be covered. And they may require copious paperwork before approving a treatment you and your doctor want. Health-care reform would standardize claim procedures to cut down on all of that. And it would protect you from other abuses, like being rejected for coverage or paying exorbitant premiums if you get sick.

Fear: Health reform will take away the good coverage from your job.

Fact: If you’re satisfied with your job-based coverage, you would be able to keep it. Employers who don’t offer insurance would either start to provide it or contribute to a fund that helps employees buy it on their own. Some small businesses would be eligible for subsidies to offset the cost. And every policy would offer at least a standard, easy-to-understand, comprehensive set of benefits like those your congressperson now enjoys.

Fear: Comparing the relative effectiveness of treatments and drugs will lead to rationing.

Fact: This issue flared up because Congress recently approved more funding for “comparative-effectiveness research.” The term refers to studies to evaluate which drugs or treatments work best for different medical conditions and different patients. That’s one more piece of information—based on science, not drug-company advertising or sales reps pushing pills—to help your doctor and you decide what’s right. Consumers Union has long argued for better health-care information. For an example of our work, go to ConsumerReportsHealth.org. You’ll find free advice based on comparative-effectiveness research into which drugs work best for some two dozen conditions, ranging from heartburn to heart disease. That’s not rationing. It’s just being smart. And if you suffer from one of those conditions, you may find you could choose a better medicine with fewer side effects and save thousands of dollars a year.

Fear: Health reform means a government takeover of medicine as in England and Canada.

Fact: The system we support would look nothing like those in England and Canada. Both of those countries finance health care out of general tax revenues. England goes even further. The government owns and operates most of the hospitals. We support a specifically American reform that would build on the current employer-based insurance while ensuring affordable comprehensive coverage for those who lack it.

Fear: Health reform will be too costly; it will raise your taxes and could even bankrupt the country.

Fact: The real threat to your finances is the health system the U.S. has now. A recent study concluded that today’s $2.4 trillion annual health-care tab would jump to $4.4 trillion by 2018 if nothing is done to rein in expenses. Consumers Union thinks reform is the best hope for getting costs under control. It would cut down on waste, overhead, and price gouging, and reduce inappropriate care and preventable errors. We fully understand why some people are apprehensive about reform: Any change is scary. But we also see the shameful damage caused by the current system. Americans deserve better than this, and can have it.

There you go.

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9 Responses to “Consumer Reports Debunks Right-Wing Health Care Myths”

  1. MEC said

    Fear: Health reform will let faceless government bureaucrats come between you and your doctor.

    Fact: Private health insurance already comes between you and your doctor.

    This is the Rightwing Myth that makes me angriest. I know too many people who don’t get the healthcare they need because some faceless corporate bureaucrat decided the corporation didn’t have to pay out the money the customer/patient had been paying in.

  2. Charles II said

    Fact: Republicans used similar arguments against Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP.

    Fact: Republicans would not only run over their own grandmother to get ahead, they would not only back up to hit her again, they’d make her pay for damage to the tires.

  3. Kathy said

    I’ve heard more than a few complaints about, say, the DMV to which congressmen & anti healthcare reps are comparing a Single Payer gov’t option.

    But I’ve never heard anything like the horror stories about Med Insurance Companies. No one has lost his/her home due to slow car registration or to flunking a licensing test. An ugly picture on your ID hasent caused bankruptcy or DEATH.

    Most users of Gov’t programs such as Social Security, Medicare or the VA are fairly satisfied. There is always room for improvement, but the flaws and problems are generally caused by stingy ‘cost cutting’ politicians & their “owners” who want a bigger cut of taxpayer money.

  4. I’d like to correct your perception of the Partnership to Improve Patient Care (PIPC). Our mission from Day One has been to advance CER that is centered on meeting patient needs. We believe that CER holds significant potential upside for patients by providing them with information on treatments.

    That is why we have publicly supported CER bills introduced by Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) in the House and Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Kent Conrad (D-ND) in the Senate — because they create an independent CER institute focused on patient needs, and include strong safeguards to prevent CER from being misused to restrict the ability of doctors and patients to tailor care to the needs of the individual.

    Also, PIPC believes that in order to achieve patient-centered CER, we need an honest discussion about how CER can be used, both for good and ill. While it is certainly true that CER won’t automatically lead to rationing of care, it is equally true that CER can and, in some countries does, get used to restrict patient access to beneficial care. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office said in a June 16 letter to Congress that for CER to generate additional savings, “providers’ financial incentives would need to be aligned with the results. For example, legislation could allow the Medicare program to limit or deny coverage for treatments that were found to be less clinically effective or less cost-effective than other interventions.”

    With sound policy like S. 1213 and H.R. 2502, we think we can avoid misuse of CER in ways that restrict access to the care that patients need.

    The Partnership to Improve Patient Care seeks to ensure that all medical and treatment decisions stay where they belong – between a patient and doctor. I hope that’s something we all can agree on.

    Thank you,
    Tony Coelho
    Chairman
    Partnership to Improve Patient Care

    • Charles II said

      Tony, let’s be clear. The insurance companies are killing people, maiming people by delaying or denying coverage people paid for. They are retroactively gouging them, sending them into bankruptcy, making them homeless.

      Which side are you on?

      You almost destroyed the Democratic Party by making it helplessly dependent on corporate contributions. You were lucky not to end up in jail yourself, with your dealings with Michael Milken and fast buck fundraising. Of the people brought down by the scandals of the 1980s/early 1990s, Jim Wright and Dan Rostenkowski tower above you as men who did great things for their country.

      You should start thinking about how you’ll be remembered by history and by family– as a slick buckraker, or as a guy who turned himself around.

      Which side are you on?

  5. Stormcrow said

    That’s right, Tony.

    Your organization is so deeply committed to transparency that your website is registered at GoDaddy, and none of the registration information is viewable.

    Hiding something?

    Astroturf.

  6. Obummer said

    Healthcare reform is about government CONTROL of one’s live from womb to tomb. If anyone believes any of the above facts I have some swamp land in FL for sale.

    • Charles II said

      Obummer, every industrialized nation in the world except the US has “government controlled” healthcare. Most have had it since World War II; Canada got it a bit later. People in those countries live on average longer than we do. And they keep electing governments to keep their “government controlled” healthcare.

      Just ask yourself: are you really sure what you’re talking about, or are you just serving as someone else’s parrot?

  7. azpd said

    They hate us for our Freedom!

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