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Archived: Editorial: Attacks and Yelling Won’t Improve Health Care

The opinion piece in today’s newspaper by local citizen Roberto Verdugo talks about the lack of respect for others’ opinions that has become all too common today as we debate issues critical to our future.

People, convinced that they are right and have the only valid point of view, are easily upset by anyone who might dare to offer a different perspective. Like feet stuck in concrete, they become unmovable, unwilling to listen to anyone who might not agree with them.

This is not just a local problem, rather it is one that has spread across the country, as we have seen over the last few days during town hall meeting meant to discuss the issue of healthcare reform and expansion to cover the country’s millions of uninsured or underinsured citizens.

Not only do distortions abound in discussions on the president’s plan to solve the problem of the uninsured and the high cost of health care, so do some very pointed inconsistencies.

We find that those who are lucky enough to have health insurance seem to fear any change the most. Why?
They worry that a new system would ration health care – even though one of the most consistent complaints about health insurers is that they too often refuse to approve doctor ordered treatments, or those they label as  “experimental.”

Another complaint often voiced about health insurers is that the wait for approval for many health procedures are made by non-medical personnel who delay treatments, leading to a worsening of a health problem.

Another point many of those who already have health care like to make is that no one is going to tell them what doctor to see, yet, there are often penalties and refusal of payment if one seeks treatment from outside the insurers’ network of approved providers.

Probably some of the most egregious health insurer’s rules are: not accepting people with pre-existing conditions, or limiting the amount they will spend on a member refusing to pay for treatments or drugs that exceed the cap amount.

Ironically, these are the very same criticisms opponents to health care reform are yelling about. They don’t want the government controlling their health care, but are willing to let for profit groups have that privilege, and get paid for it.

Our intention is not to pick a fight with either side of the issue, but rather to perhaps, just perhaps, get people to engage in civil rather than vile discourse. And maybe, as a result of more competition and the thought of losing business, insurance companies will improve their coverage and lower costs.