The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

March 15, 2013

Your View; Persistent myths

By Jim Wheeler
Special to The Globe

JOPLIN, Mo. — Dick Thompson presented a good summary of the runaway costs that threaten to overwhelm our economy (“How to lower health care costs in U.S.,” Globe, March 13).

 As a blogger who has written often on the subject I heartily endorse his reference to the recent Time magazine special report, “Bitter Pill” by Steven Brill. It is available online.

He stops short of recommending a specific fix for the problem, and I think I know why. It is the persistent myths that health care costs are controlled by competition in the marketplace, and that “socialized medicine” is evil. Neither is true.

If you have a heart attack or other critical issue, you don’t shop for the best price, you simply enter the system and place yourself at its mercy. If you are one of the fortunate to have good insurance, all is okay, but if you aren’t you may well be on your way to bankruptcy.

And as he said, Obamacare will require most uninsureds to invest in the system (if the tea party fails to repeal it), but it doesn’t fix the main problem — the skyrocketing costs.

Thompson mentioned that what’s holding down costs at all is the government through Medicare — and yes, that popular program is “socialized medicine.”

I will go further and state that a government-provided health care system for everybody, not just seniors, is the only viable solution to this critical problem. We have two choices.

We can change the system politically or we can wait until financial collapse and be forced to.

Jim Wheeler