Letters to the Editor

Biased study misleads on public option

The Gazette article titled “Public option could hurt rural Iowa hospitals,” Sept. 1” is misleading to readers as it comes from a one-sided study funded by powerful special interests.

Of course “pharmaceutical, insurance and hospital lobbyists” oppose a Medicare public option as it provides competition and challenges their profiteering.

Asking these folks about the public option is akin to asking an oil man what he thinks of wind and solar. This study is little more than special interest propaganda as evidenced by the scenarios presented that are shaped to obtain a desired response.

To be sure current Medicare reimbursements are not sufficient to provide long term rural hospital sustainability. The study offers no scenarios that would insure sustainability in an environment of ever increasing health care costs.

An obvious scenario would be to fund Medicare part A with a tax on all income and not merely “earned income” from working people on a payroll. Another scenario is to increase the 1.45% employee and employer contribution to a point that insures sustainability and to extend it to all income. This base rate has been unchanged for nearly all of us since the program began 54 years ago.

If our rural hospitals are important to us we must insure they are properly funded. There are many other options. The study considers none of them.

David Helman

Salem

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