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So what’s the alternative?

February 15, 2017
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

To the editor:

Congressman Rooney is wrong about health care issues, offering cliches instead of solutions. We all know there are serious problems with our system - it is way too expensive, not universal, and uncoordinated. Obamacare was a first step, not the perfect answer. But, it is not constructive to constantly criticize what's wrong yet have no alternatives. Certainly repeal is not an alternative.

Eighty thousand people in Rooney's district have purchased Obamacare, and more need coverage to see doctors when they're sick instead of clogging up emergency rooms. Where are his solutions?

Our Congressman says we should "put patients first." Does that give anyone a clue what we should do? He has also proposed buying insurance across state lines. That decision is for each state, not the federal government (that's called "federalism"). Besides, states that have allowed it have not seen improvements in cost or services. Second, he wants to limit medical liability, but where that's been done, as in Texas, you can find the highest per capita Medicare costs (it seems doctors order more procedures because they make money, not because they're worried about malpractice claims). And last, increasing competition among insurance companies by removing the anti-trust exception is a great idea. But being able, as a consumer, to compare coverage and costs is even better, which is what the Obamacare exchanges were designed to do.

Free markets are a great thing when we're dealing with consumer goods, like cars or plumbing services. Health care is not the same - we can't shop around when we're sick, or we've had an accident and need immediate care. There are solutions to the high costs of health care, but Congressman Rooney has not shown leadership in finding them.

Maria O'Brien




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