Health: big issue, big cost

Health: big issue, big cost

October 6th, 2010 in Opinion Free Press

Everyone is appropriately interested in good health care. We want good medical attention to be assured for everyone who really needs it.

There's a saying that "If you have your health, you have just about everything."

The big questions, however, are how much medical care should be provided, who will pay for it - and how much it will cost.

Most people depend upon medical insurance, often provided by their employers in concert with some employee payments. Some people buy medical insurance personally. And much is paid for, in one way or another, by some level of government, meaning the taxpayers.

In the Chattanooga area, it is reported that not even one-third of our people admitted to Hamilton County hospitals have private insurance. In round numbers for 2008, for example, a few more than 20,000 patients reportedly had private insurance, while a few more than 46,000 people had government insurance, more than 4,000 were uninsured, and nearly 2,000 were in "other" situations.

Hospitals provided almost $91 million locally in "charity" medical care.

Employers, individuals and taxpayers are having to foot big bills, with costs rising as more care and more advanced medical procedures are provided in efforts to assure good health.

How are we going to balance cost and care?

Congress recently enacted ObamaCare. It is expected to cost taxpayers over a trillion dollars! Nobody can realistically say how much "over."

With the federal government already annually running in the red, ObamaCare costs unfortunately will be added to the big deficits, increasing the $13.6 trillion national debt, on which the taxpayers must pay interest.

Will ObamaCare "work," financially or medically?

Chattanooga's very able Sen. Bob Corker says: "I don't think there is anybody in this industry who thinks this law is going to work. The funding just won't work, and there are a lot of unintended consequences."

Watch out: The "consequences" are yet to be fully revealed. But they will come - painfully and expensively - in the years ahead.