|BILL OF HEALTH?
Should the government pass legislation
regulating managed care?
July 21, 1998
in this forum:
Should Congress pass legislation regulating managed care? What responsibility do employers share in the current managed care problem? What are the benefits of managed care? Isn't the HMO debate really a debate over whether health-care should be affordable and accessible for all? Is there a better system for healthcare and if so, what is it? Gus K. of Brooklyn, NY, asks: Is there a better system for healthcare and if so, what is it?
Judy Waxman, director of government affairs at Families USA, responds:
Yes, there has to be a better system. We can and must find a way to make sure that everyone has high-quality, affordable care. Most other industrialized countries have created universal health care systems, and so can we. We can look at each of these other models and learn from each of them. There are many ways to skin a cat.
While there may be no single right way to proceed, there are two paths that are dead wrong. One is to do nothing. The other is to take steps that further fragment the insurance pool and divide the haves from the have-nots. We have in mind such steps as the Medical Savings Accounts being pushed by some insurance companies and conservative interests. Either course will take us in the wrong direction and will result in growing numbers of people who do not have health coverage.
Bill Gradison, president of Health Insurance Association of America, responds:
One thing is certain - there exists no perfect system for healthcare. Other countries like Canada and many Western European nations rely upon government run, taxpayer financed systems, yet these systems are faced with the same financial pressures as is our svstem. Also, in many of these countries, health care is rationed to a significantly greater extent that it is in the United States.
There's no best system. But we believe that the current systems, with its faults, operates pretty well. We think it makes infinitely more sense to improve our system and to make it more responsive to our needs than to throw it out altogether and start anew.