“Against Universal Coverage.” National Review. 21 June 2007. The authors of this article argue that any universal health-care plan, be it through government-mandated employer-based coverage or government-provided insurance, would result in exorbitant costs and/or reduced innovation. Instead, they propose that government policies make it easier for individuals to purchase their own policies. Cannon, Michael. “A „Right‟ to Health Care?” National Review 29 June 2007. Cannon argues that if the U.S. were to define healthcare as a “right,” several difficulties would arise. First, we would have to define the scope of this right—how much healthcare are people due? Then we would have to determine who‟s going to pay for all the added health care. Third, we would have to deal with patients demanding more medical care because they do not have to pay for what they are due. Lower payments to health care professionals would discourage people from innovating or even entering the field. Fourth, we would have to decide how to deliver all of this medical care to people. Finally, if we were to define healthcare as a basic human right, then Americans would have to pay to insure everyone in the entire world. Krugman, Paul. “Edwards Gets it Right.” New York Times. 9 Feb 2007, A19. Krugman defends the various points in John Edwards‟s proposal for health-care reform. Edwards‟s multifaceted plan consists of tax incentives, regulations for the insurance industry, federal laws mandating that everyone have insurance, and expanded government-run programs to provide for the unemployed. Obviously, Krugman feels that a feasible solution is not only possible but available. ----------------. “The Waiting Game.” The New York Times. 16 July 2007, A13. In this article, Krugman aims to knock down several “myths” about American and foreign health care systems. He argues that U.S. citizens, in fact, are not getting more timely treatment than those living in countries with universal coverage. Krugman cites the Commonwealth study that Turner (see below) criticized for relying on opinion surveys. He also presents data to indicate that Germany outperforms the U.S. when comparing access the elective surgery. He includes an anecdote from a professor who nearly died because the insurance company did not want to cover his cancer biopsy before he switched to an option with higher co-payments. Finally, Krugman provides data to show that the U.S. offers more elective hip replacements only because the U.S. government-run medical program (Medicare) offers them. Turner, Grace Marie. “Look at Health Data, Not Propaganda.” Baltimore Sun. 29 June 2007, 19A. Turner argues that those promoting universal coverage look at opinion surveys and not the hard data indicating quality of care in the United States. She compares the U.S. and several other countries on points such as: timely access to care, access to the latest treatments, budgetary priorities, and the survival rates of critical illnesses (like cancer). Consistently, she finds that the U.S. scores higher, leading her to conclude that “American‟s health care system certainly has its problems, and we must do much more to cove the uninsured. But if you judge a health care system by how well it serves people when they‟re actually sick, America‟s is without equal.” Williams, Ronald and Tryen A. Brennan. “The Realities of Health-Care Reform.” Washington Post. 10 July 2007, A15. Williams and Brennan argue that the private health care industry is not opposed to universal coverage. They claim that people often presume several unwarranted suppositions about companies like Aetna: (1) These companies “cherry-pick” the healthy. Williams and Brennan argue that they must consider individual health if they are not allowed to form “mixed-risk” pools of individual subscribers. (2) These companies are reaping undeserved profits from Medicare Advantage customers who opt for private coverage through Medicare. They argue that they do profit from these customers, but their profits reflect an ability to save the government money and improved performance over standard Medicare. (3) These companies profit unduly. Williams and Brennan argue that the 6% average profit accrued by managed-care companies is less than the typical profit in the health care industry and is due payment for “effective and efficient health care.” They conclude by hoping for universal coverage that allows for significant participation by private corporations, such as Aetna. Rai, Kul B. “Don‟t Count on Universal Health Care.” Hartford Courant. 10 July 2007, A9. Rai argues that, though universal health care is needed, it is not likely. He cites considerable evidence to show that the U.S. health care system is troubled and that voters desire some change. However, he argues that partisan politics in the U.S. House and Senate would prevent any drastic changes. Also, he sez that interest groups in the U.S. (insurance and pharmaceutical companies, doctors, employers, hospitals, etc.) exercise far too much power and would derail any serious effort at reform. Finally, he notes that 75% of Americans who have insurance report that they are “satisfied” with their coverage, indicating that these people will not tolerate any chances that alter their own situations.
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