Richard Nishman: Reforming health care and education |

Richard Nishman: Reforming health care and education

Richard Nishman MD

It appears from reading Dr. Stolen’s column, that she favors government run health care, and higher education (Joanne Stolen, “Reform health care and education,” April 8). She seems to believe “if Americans were freed from the high cost of health care insurance and higher education they would have more disposable income to pump into the economy.”

Currently the government is the number one health insurer in the nation. Between Medicare and Medicaid, a little more than one-third of all Americans are insured by the government. The unbearable paperwork involved with trying to get money from insurance companies for services rendered was predominately created the government. The reason that “irrational settlements” and outrageous jury awards occur is because the government refuses to limit damages (this is because the trial lawyers are a very strong political lobby).

Many health care providers and health care institutions would charge uninsured patients a much reduced fee for services, but because of the way the government calculates Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement they cannot! (The government could easily allow providers to charge a reduced fee, but they will not).

Stolen also writes: “In many European countries, health care is pretty much free. Yes they pay more taxes.” That’s a little more than a slight understatement. The taxes in Europe are significantly higher than in the U.S.; not just the marginal tax brackets, but VAT, and gasoline taxes (making gas between 8-10$ per gallon). If you add up all the additional taxes, I believe that the average American would be able to pay for services, that they actually choose, and have some money left over.

Dr. Stolen believes that by not having to directly pay for health care or education that one might be able to purchase other things sooner, like a home. However because of the significantly higher tax burden in the socialized health care countries, it takes much longer to save enough money to be able to purchase a home.

Lastly I’ll quickly mention education. Our government-run public schools seem to be an unequivocal failure. Our “private” graduate, and post-graduate schools seem to be the envy of the world. Again people from all over the world come here for this education. Why would we want the government that can’t handle primary and secondary education, to ruin the most successful part of our education system, graduate, and post graduate schools?