The pay of the day …

Modern Healthcare - - Opinions Letters -

For the past many months, the news me­dia and leg­is­la­tors have fo­cused on not only the need for health­care re­form, but also the need to do it now. The pri­mary im­pe­tus for this has been that there are 40 mil­lion or more unin­sured, and the in­sin­u­a­tion is that th­ese 40 mil­lion do not have ac­cess to nec­es­sary health­care ser­vices.

Not once have I heard from the news me­dia, leg­is­la­tors, health in­sur­ance com­pa­nies, or (to my dis­may) even our own hospi­tal as­so­ci­a­tions, that even though there are many mil­lions of unin­sured, our com­mu­nity hos­pi­tals and physi­cians do ac­tu­ally pro­vide care to the ma­jor­ity of th­ese unin­sured on a daily ba­sis.

And not once have I heard from the news me­dia or leg­is­la­tors that work­ing em­ploy­ees ac­tu­ally not only sub­si­dize this care of the in­di­gent and unin­sured, but also the ex­ist­ing cost short­falls to providers cre­ated by the Medi­care and Med­i­caid pro­grams through higher com­mer­cial in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums.

The em­pha­sis on pro­vid­ing the unin­sured with in­sur­ance and throw­ing in such uni­ver­sally ac­cepted ideas as pro­hibit­ing in­sur­ance com­pa­nies from deny­ing pre­ex­ist­ing con­di­tions has to­tally ob­fus­cated the most im­por­tant health­care is­sue, which is how do we con­tinue to pay for all of the ser­vices both the in­sured and unin­sured want and need?

Whether you pro­vide ac­cess to care by “giv­ing” the unin­sured an in­sur­ance pol­icy, or by sub­si­diz­ing the care through pay­ment from in­sured pa­tients, the cost is the same, and the re­sult is the same. That is, work­ing in­di­vid­u­als will con­tinue to pay the en­tire cost of health­care for the unin­sured, the in­di­gent, Medi­care and Med­i­caid pa­tients, through taxes and other pay­roll de­duc­tions, pre­mi­ums, and outof-pocket de­ductibles and co­pay­ments. How much will we re­quire them to pay and for what ser­vices and for whom are the ques­tions no one wants to talk about.

We need to get back to a ba­sic dis­cus­sion of health in­sur­ance and what costs we are will­ing to fund.

Wally Win­kler Chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Keokuk (Iowa) Health Sys­tems

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.