Wall Street Journal 'Missed the Mark' On Health Care Debate

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A Jan. 4 Wall Street Journal opinion piece by BetsyMcCaughey, a former lieutenant governor of New York and an adjunctsenior fellow at the HudsonInstitute, "missed the mark on a number of key principles ofthe Healthy Americans Act ... and about the current debate on healthreform," Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Bob Bennett (R-Utah), whoco-sponsor the legislation, write in a Journal letter tothe editor (Wyden/Bennett, Wall Street Journal, 1/9).

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McCaughey in the opinion piece wrote, "Requiringcatastrophic coverage ... probably is smart," but a requirementthat "everyone have comprehensive health insurance, coveringpreventive and routine care," is not "really a good idea."She wrote, "Requiring comprehensive coverage, the argument goes,will make it affordable for the sick, by pulling the young and thehealthy ... into the insurance pool" and "will cureovercrowded emergency rooms and help tame skyrocketing health costs."However, such "arguments are based on myths, not facts,"according to McCaughey (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 1/4).

Wyden and Bennett write, "McCaughey claims the growingnumber of uninsured Americans is largely due to immigration or thedecision by those who can afford coverage not to buy it," butthe "increase in the numbers of uninsured Americans has more todo with the decline in employer-sponsored health insurance and thefact that health insurance is becoming too expensive for manyworkers, families or individuals to afford."

The Healthy Americans Act "would tackle these problems bygiving individuals private-sector choice for health care not tied totheir employment, fixing the tax code to eliminate inefficientsubsidies for health care and providing sliding scale subsidies toensure health care is affordable and accessible for all Americans"(Wall Street Journal, 1/9).

Reprinted with permission fromkaisernetwork.org.You can view the entire KaiserDaily Health Policy Report, search the archives, andsign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report ispublished for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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