EDITORIAL: Demand health care reform details

Source: Asbury Park Press
During the 10 Republican and six Democratic presidential debates over the past several months, intelligent discussion has been absent on one of the most important issues facing Americans — health care.
Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have traded shots on whether a single-payer plan or incremental improvements to Obamacare are the best way to go. The three leading Republicans, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, all want to dismantle Obamacarey (but they) have devoted almost all of their verbiage on the subject to flogging Obamacare rather than offering anything substantive about alternatives that would provide less expensive and more efficient coverage with improved outcomes.

The future of America’s health care system is too important to settle for the candidates’ vague, hackneyed attacks on the current system. Voters should insist on specific solutions, supported by independent research and analysis.

They all say they want private competition and the free market to solve our health care system’s ills, of which there are many. The inefficiency and profit objectives of private insurers is one of the main reasons America regularly ranks at or near the bottom of health care comparisons with other industrialized nations. The only area in which we are number one is cost. We continue to have the most expensive, least-efficient health care system in the world, despite being the only nation in the West and beyond not to offer universal coverage.
Obamacare was a partial, compromise response to a broken system. It went halfway only because special interests — insurers, pharmaceutical companies, medical supply and devices manufacturers and others who feed off the wasteful system — and the politicians dependent on their campaign cash stood in the way of a comprehensive fix.
To be sure, Obamacare is flawed, largely because it didn’t go far enough to wring the inefficiencies out of the system. There are plenty of areas that could stand improvement. But most of the solutions proposed by the Republicans are warmed-over, free-market ideas we believe would fall far short of what is necessary to control health care costs, improve efficiency and produce better health outcomes.

Health care affects every American (and) represents a 17.5 percent chunk of the nation’s economy. Candidates — presidential and congressional — who can’t come up with credible plans for fixing the system don’t deserve voters’ support.

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