I read with interest the front-page interview of Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel by Jo Cavallo in the December 15, 2011, issue of The ASCO Post. Dr. Emanuel may have had some of the most prestigious positions in all of medicine, but his opinion of the Affordable Care Act is completely misguided. This legislation represents government control of the health-care market—one-sixth of the U.S. economy—and is a disaster for America. The only resulting reduction in health-care costs will be through government rationing.
Congressman Paul Ryan has a much better plan: The tax deduction available to employers for health insurance premiums for their employees needs to be made available to all. And health insurance needs to be available across state lines to encourage competition. Donald Trump states he can only get 1 bid on health insurance for his employees, but he would like 20. He says this kind of competition alone would reduce costs to the point where helping poor patients would not be an issue.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has used health savings accounts for government employees, and his state has demonstrated how costs can be reduced. Since people are using their own money with health savings accounts, they are more discriminating as to how it is spent. Patients have to be paying enough of the bill to be adequately concerned to even ask three key questions: First, do I really need this test? Second, how will it affect my care? Third, where can I get it the cheapest? ■
—Calvin J. Dykstra, MD
Spring Lake, Michigan