'Let's stop making it so easy to retain the healthcare status quo' and other letters
Regarding the May 8 editorial "End the slow-walk on payment reform" (p. 24), I'm with you. "It's time for the baby to learn to walk." I see this as a study in human decisions as well as healthcare reform. It reminds me that people resist change unless the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change. We keep finding ways to make staying the same comfortable. Until this ends, we may likely fall short of enabling the changes our rational self knows that we need.
Founder and CEO
White Stone Consulting Group
Regarding the March 20 editorial "The AHCA's hidden costs will hurt everyone" (p. 24), I was struck by the remarks concerning higher costs of care for newly enrolled Medicare patients who were previously uninsured. I work in Oklahoma and we see this all the time. Our healthcare spending for those who haven't joined Medicare yet is relatively low—poorer, underinsured (we are a nonexpansion state) and limited access to primary care all contributing—but our per capita Medicare spending has steadily grown, and we are now in the top tier according to the Dartmouth Atlas. So your point speaks to pent-up demand, especially for those with chronic diseases. "Penny-wise, pound-poorer."
Dr. Nicholas Twidale
Elk City, Okla.
Regarding the article "Health insurers' proposed 2018 rate hikes are early 'warning signs' " (ModernHealthcare.com, May 10), the exchanges would be stable if Congress and the current administration allowed them to work as intended. Of course the exchanges will die if they continue to choke them.
Republicans will be citing these huge increases for 2018 as evidence that Obamacare is dying. The public must be made to understand that the law is not being allowed to work as written. Risk-corridor payments were severely cut; cost-sharing subsidies for low-income households are being eliminated; HHS has stopped supporting exchange enrollment with advertising.
The article mentions that actuarial tables cannot be calculated with reasonable accuracy because rules for next year's coverage are unclear. Everyone will need to add contingency numbers to cover themselves for the worst case. It will be amazing if any insurance company actually offers any plans for 2018.
David Matz, Ph.D.
Chadds Ford, Pa.
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