You may remember that earlier this month, Obama asked ordinary Americans to give the gift of their ideas and input to help him implement his vague Utopian vision for the future of health care in America. This got me really excited (please don't miss the sarcasm here), and I volunteered to lead and moderate one of his Health Care Community Discussions. For your convenience, the discussion will be right here, right now, online. Obama sent me a Moderator Guide and a Participant Guide, so we're ready to go!
Here are the questions from the Participant Guide, with some "sample answers" from yours truly. What are your thoughts?
1. Briefly, from your own experience, what do you perceive is the biggest problem in the health system?
Government intrusion is CLEARLY the biggest problem with the health system. Meddlesome government policy makers are responsible for the high price of health insurance, the limited selection of insurers, the lack of emphasis on prevention, and the quirky system wherein health insurance is usually linked with employment.
2. How do you choose a doctor or hospital? What are your sources of information? How should public policy promote quality health care providers?
I think that the best way to choose a physician or a hospital is to ask family and friends. I see no legitimate role for the government in this area.
3. Have you or your family members ever experienced difficulty paying medical bills? What do you think policy makers can do to address this problem?
For most of my adult life, I was uninsured. I payed for medical expenses out of pocket. I have been blessed with good health and I have taken very good care of myself. I exercise. I do not engage in any self-destructive behaviors. I want your "policy makers" to stay out of my life. When my family members need help, I help them. They would do the same for me. I know there are people who aren't as lucky as I have been. That's what private insurance and private charity are for.
4. In addition to employer-based coverage, would you like the option to purchase a private plan through an insurance-exchange or a public plan like Medicare?
What part of "get out of my life" do you not understand?
5. Do you know how much you or your employer pays for health insurance? What should an employer’s role be in a reformed health care system?
I think that employers and governments should not be involved in the health care system. To make a reasonable compromise, we might consider getting serious about Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
6. Another stupid question...skip.
7. How can public policy promote healthier lifestyles?
Here's something for your policy makers: stop giving food stamps to fat people!
8. What do you perceive is the biggest problem in the health system?
a. Cost of health insurance
b. Cost of health care services
c. Difficulty finding health insurance due to a pre-existing condition
d. Lack of emphasis on prevention
e. Quality of health care
f. Meddlesome government policy makers like Barack Obama and his health care czar, Tom Daschle
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