We need ‘care act’

Published 10:31 am Friday, March 14, 2014

A presidential statement that should have been made in 2010:

“My fellow Americans, health care in America faces a crisis today with unsustainable inflationary increases in cost, antiquated delivery systems, the profit motive undercutting the care motive, all while leaving many working Americans bearing the burden for those who elect to ignore insurance and allow others to pay their costs.

But this crisis is also a harbinger of the future, for, like pensions two decades ago, employers are moving away from providing insurance in greater and greater numbers. In a global economy the costs have conspired to lessen the competitiveness of our employers, whose competitors universally need not offer insurance since nation states across the globe provide that function.

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Without fundamental change our insurance costs will stagger our national budgets, lessen our competitive position around the world, and leave too many Americans uninsured.

We can no longer allow sick Americans to have their insurance cancelled, or sicker Americans to run out of dollars for their coverage, or some Americans simply deemed uninsurable.

We must digitalize our health care records to reduce mistakes in care; we must shift to preventative care, which in the long term, saves on costs and improves healthcare; we must establish clinics in neighborhoods where practitioners are not in place; we must increase the funding for research hospitals to produce more physicians for our aging population and we must increase the number of nurse practitioners to better serve the public.

All of this will take time, have real costs, and require flexibility in the process to manage change. At the end of the day a few Americans may experience higher costs for their healthcare, but many more will find the public competition of exchanges will reduce their insurance costs and improve their coverage’s. And the more cooperation each state offers the more competitive the exchanges will be over time.

In states where there have been only one or two or three providers historically we encourage the states to reach out to other insurers to create more competitive marketplaces.

And crucial to all of this, we will bend the inflation curve in healthcare, as has already been significantly accomplished, and expand “best practices” nationwide with better communication and use of technology, improving the quality of delivery of care and the price of care.

We will demand hospitals provide open report of their failures and successes, of their physician’s outcomes, and of their billing charges. We will make available to the consumer these price and outcome factors to make more informed healthcare users.

The Affordable Care Act grants metal health care equal protection under the law to help meet the needs of so many who have been denied this crucial element of healthcare. No longer will insures make the decisions based on cost factors alone regarding the length and quality of mental health care.

This is not an option for America; it is what must be done for the good of the nation and the benefit of a healthier people. This is the Affordable Care Act.


Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.