Now’s the time to repeal health-care legislation |

Now’s the time to repeal health-care legislation

Dear Editor:

Blanca O’Leary’s letter responding to Michael MacDermott rightly puts the debate over the recent health care legislation where it belongs – in the realm of substance. I recognize her sincerity in advocating for a public option, a goal she shares with most Democrats but with which opponents of the health care legislation, including me, fundamentally disagree.

At the same time, Ms. O’Leary fails to address Mr. MacDermott’s basic critique of the legislation – the adverse consequences of escalating costs and reduced options for Americans. And she denigrates opponents of the legislation by stating that “Few of them offered plausible, comprehensive plans for reform.”

To the contrary, opponents of the legislation offered important proposals to address core problems in our health care system: uncontrollable costs which are passed along to insurance companies, consumers and government. One need only have watched the bipartisan health care summit in February to understand the many worthy alternatives, almost none of which were incorporated in the Democrats’ legislation.

The fact is that the legislation does not address the core problems. Consumers continue to lack the tools and the incentives to make cost-benefit decisions with respect to their own and their family’s health care, which would significantly lower costs.

It’s also clear that the legislation’s math doesn’t add up: A projected 32 million newly insured individuals versus a shrinking population of doctors, particularly those willing to accept Medicare and Medicaid patients. There’s only one way out of that conundrum – much longer waiting times for health care services, and other forms of rationing.

Another failure of the legislation: deficit reduction. Most Americans (not including the Congressional Budget Office) understand that the legislation will increase the federal deficit. Elimination of “fraud and waste” in Medicare – if it were effective – would already have been tried. The “doctor’s fix” for Medicare reimbursement, stripped out of the legislation to make the numbers look good, is now being added back by the Democrats.

Americans tend to have a common sense attitude toward matters of importance. They know you can’t get something for nothing. No wonder 63 percent of Americans (according to Rasmussen) now oppose the Democrats’ health care legislation, a significant increase since the legislation was enacted two months ago. To paraphrase Nancy Pelosi’s famous remarks: “We need to enact the legislation to understand what’s in it.” Now that we understand what’s in it, the legislation should be repealed and replaced with true reform.

Frieda Wallison

Old Snowmass