Yesterday's Wall St. Journal featured a well-reasoned opinion piece from John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, on specific reforms that can be implemented to begin the process of fixing what's wrong with our health care system. Let's hope the ideas he has outlined become the framework for discussion rather than the government takeover being proposed by the Democrats in Washington.
It simply cannot be disputed that we have the finest, highest-quality health care system ever created. It also cannot be disputed that the vast majority of Americans like the health insurance coverage they currently have. Finally, it cannot be disputed that our health care delivery system and the federal/state safety net Medicaid provide access to health care for all Americans.
So what's the issue--what are we trying to "fix"? Is it the cost of health INSURANCE? As someone who currently pays over $15,000/year for health insurance premiums for family coverage, I believe that the cost of health insurance is a primary concern. However, any health care historian will confirm that past government action (e.g., wage controls, ERISA, mandated benefits) is the primary cause of this problem.
Do we really want more government and more bureaucracy to further compound the problem of increasing health insurance costs? Democrats apparently answer "YES." Republicans, on the other hand, answer "NO," instead choosing to pursue the alternatives highlighted by Mackey. Let's hope that after they have had a chance to hear from their constitutents that the Democrat members of Congress have a change of heart.