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Doheny has no alternative to health care law


The Affordable Care Act, derisively known as “Obamacare,” establishes two obvious principles: 1) the basis of any insurance system is to spread the risk over a large population, and 2) everyone will eventually need health care. It finally codifies individual responsibility. If you are going to use a service, you should pay for it.

Therefore, everyone must participate. If not, then those who do participate pay for others who don’t. When did individual responsibility become an anathema for Republicans?

ACA is far from perfect, but it is a start. It doesn’t achieve complete universal coverage, nor does it significantly reduce the cost of health care.

It does start to control and rein in the avarice of insurance companies. Much of the $716 billion Medicare savings comes from limiting insurance companies’ exorbitant raids on Medicare funds. It now limits the insurance profit margins to only 20 percent.

It is still exorbitant when compared to the average profit margins of the rest of the economic sectors of 5 percent. Health care insurance companies still rake in a windfall compared to the cost of running Medicare of 3.5 percent.

ACA only partially addresses inflationary health care costs, essentially ignoring a deeply flawed liability tort system where doctors are forced to practice defensive medicine.

Neither does it rein in pharmaceutical company costs, whose profit margins are in excess of 25 percent.

The solution is not to repeal ACA but rather to modify it to truly cover everyone and significantly decrease health care costs, all the time retaining quality.

Matt Doheny wants to repeal ACA. With what is he going to replace it? Going back to robber-baron insurance company deregulation is unacceptable.United Healthcare paid its CEO a $1 billion bonus in 2004. That immoral greed is intolerable. Thus far Mr. Doheny has not offered any road map, much less a plan, to accomplish the above three principles.

Liability reform: great, but it doesn’t contribute much, maybe 6 percent to health care costs. Out of state insurance: been tried in Georgia and, according to Forbes magazine, is a “bust.” There are no takers. Yet, another example of ideology that doesn’t work.

We’ve heard a lot of carping and whining from Mr. Doheny, but no effective solutions.

To quote Abraham Lincoln, those ideas he has offered are “as thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had starved to death.”

Until he comes up with something substantial, even though imperfect, I’ll stick with our present representative.

Bob Johnson

Sackets Harbor

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