Friday, August 31, 2007

Dr. James Schroeder On FAIR Vs. Single Payer

The August 28, 2007 Grand Junction Daily Sentinel printed the following LTE by Dr. James Schroeder:
Single-payer health plan would be costly and unfair

Imagine every time a shopper goes to the store he encounters an armed bandit. This bandit takes $5 from the shopper and pockets $4. He then gives the remaining dollar to a hungry man nearby. Imagine then that the bandit goes inside the store and forces the grocery store owner to sell a $3 loaf of bread to the hungry man for that $1. The shopper would be outraged. The store would soon go out of business. Understandably, the hungry man would love this arrangement.

Sad to say, this is precisely the Medicaid system that would be expanded under one of the options being considered by the governor’s 208 Commission on health care. If you have not deduced already, the shopper is the taxpayer, the bandit is the government, the hungry man is the Medicaid recipient and the storeowner is the physician. While perhaps admirable to want to feed the hungry man, allowing the government to do it inefficiently and by coercion is economically nonsensical. It also is contrary to notions of individual freedom and responsibility.

I, as a physician, small business owner and taxpayer, feel the brunt of this on multiple levels. I am astounded that while tasked to consider meaningful reform, the commission is considering an expanded version of the current failed system.

The Legislature should debate a variety of reform proposals. One alternative would be the FAIR proposal submitted to the 208 Commission by Brian Schwartz. I urge the taxpayers of Colorado to learn about these issues. Beware the incremental expansion of government-run health care because we as a society will not be able to afford "free" health care.

I am a pediatric cardiologist and have been in private practice in Grand Junction since 2004. I am a former chief of the medical staff of Methodist Children’s Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, and a former army pediatrician. I have experienced many different aspects of health care in America. I am also a native of the Grand Valley.