'Public Plan' Eliminates Choice, Endangers Health

First, the 47 million uninsured are not alike. Up to 10 million may be illegal immigrants, according to data gathered from the U.S. Census. Twelve million are eligible for Medicaid or SCHIP and don't even apply. Five million Americans who are without insurance make $70,000 or more per year. Seven million workers and dependents have declined employer coverage and remain uninsured.

The one-size-fits-all insurance model is too expensive and has little to do with health and wellness. People should be able to choose from plans of different types and prices that increase coverage as well as encourage well-being.

Illegal immigrants could buy low cost private health insurance. Tax credits, special rebates and discounts should reward healthy behavior as well as doctors and plans that encourage it. John Deere, Gulfstream and the city of Springfield, Ore. offer benefits tailored to long-term individual health goals instead of short-term cost containment goals.

We should fund a surge against health disparities where they exist, dramatically changing health care delivery to do so. This combination of health-centric policies would cover more people at a lower cost and target more resources on keeping people healthy.

When President Obama launched health care reform, improving health was at the heart of his effort. Now it's all about the money. Many private insurers, he said, spend too much time thinking about money instead of helping people.

The same could be said about President Obama who seems to forget that goal is not to save money for a public plan. It's to encourage doctors and patients to use the best tools to help us live longer and more productive lives.

Robert Goldberg, PhD, is president of The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest Advance and chairs The Critical Path Initiative for Personalized Medicine through the organization. He writes regularly for The American Spectator, the New York Post and The Weekly Standard.

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