Friday, June 25, 2004

Now that his site is new and improved Mr. Page takes a big swallow of the single-payer kool-aid with this story from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A proposal for a Medicare-like system that would give health insurance coverage to all Georgia residents would cut total health spending for the state by about $716 million annually, according to study released Monday by a consumer group.

The proposed, government-run "single-payer" plan would be financed by a combination of payroll taxes, increases in tobacco and alcohol taxes, a 1 percent sales tax and a tax on individuals, said Georgians for a Common Sense Health Plan, a group that promotes health coverage for all residents.

But all current payments by employers and individuals, including health insurance premiums and co-pays, would be eliminated under the consumer group's SecureCare program. Most families earning $75,000 or less would pay less under the proposal, said Rita Valenti, a registered nurse and former state legislator who's a founder of the Common Sense group.

"The need is growing exponentially'' for such a plan, Valenti said, citing the rising number of uninsured — 1.2 million in Georgia — and increasing health costs for consumers.

The SecureCare proposal would replace the current employer-based benefits system. "Most people realize our health care system is broken,'' Valenti said.

The study, conducted by the Virginia-based Lewin Group, a health care consulting firm, was financed by a grant from the nonprofit Healthcare Georgia Foundation, a private organization whose mission, in part, is to expand access to affordable, quality health care.

The Lewin Group has done analyses of single-payer proposals in other states, including California. No state has adopted such a plan.

Sounds like a good idea. I would like to learn more about it, but I can't.

I have Googled Georgians for a Common Sense Health Plan, Healthcare Georgia Foundation, Lewin Group, and even Rita Valenti. None of those searches revealed any sort of link to this study. No mention of the methods used or how they came up with the figure of $716 million saved with such a system. Finaly using Georgia Secure Care I was able to learn of a meeting in Atlanta where it will be discussed. "Learn the details with us" is the tagline. One should not have to drive to Atlanta to do so.

No surprise of how it is funded:

....would be financed by a combination of payroll taxes, increases in tobacco and alcohol taxes, a 1 percent sales tax and a tax on individuals...

So they plan to use sales taxes and excise taxes to finance this. Aren't these the same taxes that are criticized for their regressive nature?

Yet another plan modeled after Medicare. The last I read and heard, physicians were starting to steer away from Medicare because of lousy reimbursement and red tape. So why are plans modeled after an unpopular system? And to turn it over to a crowd that can't balance the books, follow the rules or restrain themselves from throwing money away. They will also kick granny out of the nursing home on short notice.

Such is the beauty of federalism that the states can experiment with such plans to find out which ones work. But if put to the voters of Georgia, believeve it would suffer the same fate as the 2002 Oregon referendum.

One of the most useful things that blogs and other online resources allow us to to is "fact check" a portion of the writer's anatomy. I have tried and cannot find any facts to check about Ms. Valenti's plan. If my readers have any I would appreciate them.
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