Comments about ‘Michael O. Leavitt: Health care reform: Less spending, less government control’

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Published: Tuesday, Jan. 18 2011 12:00 p.m. MST

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Bountiful, UT

The governor has some good thoughts, but conspicuously absent is how common people will finance healthcare.

Some portion of the public will adopt the use of Health Savings Accounts, but there is also a large (and growing) group that cannot save the money for these accounts. They realize that providers won't turn them away and thus there is no market mechanism that forces them to save for a rainy day. As a moral people, we won't turn them away. We don't (and won't) have "dying rooms" for those who can't pay.

Without a mandate, too many consumers will simply put off buying insurance until they have a serious healthcare problem, thus driving insurance premiums through the roof. Mandates were a part of all previous GOP proposals until the last year, when it became politically expedient to demonize Obamacare.

Absent a Single Payer system (which ironically the absense of the mandate pushes us toward) and without the means to get healthy people contributing to the risk pool, the financial part of healthcare unravels, quickly.

The GOP (now) has no workable idea on how to solve this issue.

Provo, UT

"The truth is that people don't like Obamacare for three reasons: It represents too much debt, too much deficit and too much government."

This is where you, Mr. Leavitt, and your party are totally wrong. First, the GOP is wrote to imply that they have the majority on their side. Currently, the country is split about half and half on Obamacare; furthermore, a large portion of those who are opposed to it are opposed to it because they feel it is not liberal enough.

Second, survey after survey shows that a person who says he is opposed to Obamacare is far more likely to be uninformed about what is actually in the bill. When the various components of the bill are broken out and polled individually, people are overwhelmingly in favor of them.

The only component that doesn't get majority support is the individual mandate--which, of course, the Republicans now oppose, but which was the component that they invented in the first place, and supported almost universally until about 18 months ago. That's when they adopted "oppose Obama even if he agrees with us" as their M.O.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Mr. Leavitt wrote a thought provoking article that offered some valid suggestions; but, I totally disagree with his suggestion that Congress write legislation dealing with the administration of health care.

Is the Health Care system broken? Definitely.

Has the Federal Government been authorized by the People via the Constitution to administer Health Care? Definitely not.

Because the 10th Amendment clearly leaves to the States and to the People all powers not delegated to the Federal Government, only the States and the People have the necessary authority to administer Health Care.

Congress must not be allowed to pass laws that force States or the citizens of the States to comply with Federal mandates - when Congress is dealing with an issue that is beyond its authority.

No Federal plan can be authorized until the Constitution is amended.

The only responsible action that Congress can take is to repeal that law and then let the States and the People find the proper solution.

The Founding Fathers were wise in restricting the scope of the Federal Government. We would be very foolish to continue to allow the Federal Government to overstep its limited authority.

Provo, UT

On the homepage of the online edition, next to the picture and link: "Former cabinet member and Utah Gov. Michael O. Leavitt is the newest member of the Deseret News Editorial Advisory Board. Here, he summarizes his advice on the vote to repeal and replace Obamacare."

I don't have a problem with an editorialist using the term "Obamacare" but it seems to be loaded term to use in the above manner on the heading. Does the Deseret News refer to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as "Obamacare" in news articles too?

Cedar Hills, UT

oh my golly sakes, what have we here?? A conservative alternative to Obamacare? I thought none existed (according to libs)? You mean our own governor Mike Leavitt can draw up some simple alternatives to this train wreck of a bill? Hmmm, wonder how many other governors could do the same thing? But Obamacare was never about solving health care in America but rather forcing total government control upon the American people and ushering in socialism. Get a clue folks!!!

Fitness Freak
Salt Lake City, UT

I agree with "Mike Richards" and would like to add that IF the issue would dealt with by the states, there would at least be some accountability via the states' budget.

Whenever the feds handle ANYTHING they use that credit card that has no maximum amount. Just send the bill to our grandkids, or great grandkids!

Salt Lake City, UT

Thanks for caring about health care now that you're not in power anymore. Why didn't you do anything when you and your cronies ruled the government for 8 years? To cry and complain now is utter rubbish for which you apparently feel no remorse or shame whatsoever.

South Jordan, UT

Mr Leavitt said that we need to "change the way doctors and hospitals are paid," and suggested we abandon "the fee-for-service system currently used to pay doctors and hospitals."

Unfortunately, after suggesting what we should abandon, I missed his statement as to what type of system would fill the void. The "fee-for-service" sounds an awful lot like free-enterprise, which is what our American society is based on. The only alternative that comes to mind is a socialist system where all Americans pay taxes into a government pot, and the doctors and hospitals all become employees and assets of the ever-growing government to administer health to all.

Am I right? Is Mr Leavitt telling us we must become socialists: hook, line and sinker?

Cedar Hills, UT

I agree sort of. My biggest problem with the entire debate is "it's about insurance." Health care and health insurance are not the same thing.

If health care for all citizen is what we are after, then let's talk about health care. We already have Medicare (for 65+) and Medicaid (low income).

Who is not getting health care?

Don't talk about 30 million people who are uninsured. That doesn't even come close to answering the question. Some people choose not to buy health insurance. Others are on Medicare or Medicaid or a State program like CHIPs, so they don't buy it.

Who is not getting health care?

Answer that question and then we can start the debate about how to get them health care. Until then...repeal all the balony.

South Jordan, UT

Remember whose cabinit Leavitt served on ,George Bush's the worst president in history. I'd take anything he says with a grain of salt. The CBO says the healthcare law will save this country around a trillion dollars in the next 10 years. The CBO also says repealing it would cost hundreds of billions. The republicans dont care, they are jealous of Obama's accomplishments and are fit to be tied. They have wasted our time for the last 2 years and will continue to do so for the next 2. We need less republicans not more. They have No ideas or soulutions, they only obstruct and destroy. They are Sucking America dry.

Springville, UT

This is the problem with Romneycare. You have a moderate Republican insisting they can create a better way of government managing health care. Socialism is not evil because it is the word "socialism." It is evil because people who pay get no say, and people who do not pay get all of the say.

Intersting that even as we 'speak' the Prime Minister of UK David Cameron is promising to cut government out of management and allow for private industry, primary care physicians and charities to make decisions about health care. The Left used England as the cause celeb for going socialist. And the "socialists" realize it doesn't work and they are trying to Americanize.

And Mike Leavitt is showing his big government leanings by once again, insisting government do it. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Toronto, Ontario

Every good democracy is build on Capitalism and Socialism. I am shocked that the US health care system is based on not just profit but extreme profits. No one should ever lose their house because they get sick and everyone should have the right to equal care.

I have a friend who works for an insurance company and the government has been sending them regular cheques for years - they use it it line their pockets, she cant say anything or she will lose her job. The govt is already paying for healthcare but no one is receiving it.

I am sick of the hatred that is being used by media for political gain.

What healthcare system would the Savior institute in America?

While in the US on the weekend I over heard a man telling someone that he has benefits through his work but if he ever gets sick he is dead.

My cousin who is a business owner is paying 800.00 a month for each of his employees for minimum insurance that doesnt really give them much.

The system makes sense unless you are in the business of supplying healthcare for $$$$

American Fork, UT

We need health care (not insurance) for all. And we can spend less.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

It's funny that the GOP is so upset about this recent health care reform passed by the demos.

In the 1990's it was exactly this type of law that they were trying to pass.

If it's deemed as socialism now and we all know that the GOP hates socialism, then why were they suggesting it then? Is it because the Demos are now in charge?

Toronto, Ontario

to JMT

David Cameron is taking a lot of flack for trying to destroy the countries finest institution. He wants to make changes that will put him in history books. (He must be a fan of George Bush) He lied about his election promises with regards to NHS. Shadow Health Secretary John Healey said: This report is a big red warning light ahead of the Governments legislation. The more health experts see of the plans, the harder they find it to say something in support. They are expecting huge job losses.

I dont know much about Hawaii but universal Healthcare seems to be working there.

Fine thing for Mr. Leavitt to come up with too little too late.

One thing is for sure.. its not possible to do as much damage and George Bush did.

New Yorker
Pleasant Grove, UT

If this just gets repealed, nothing will happen for another generation. I'd suggest we push toward incremental amendments on specific issues, and not imagine that a shotgun approach will get us anywhere.

Provo, UT

Another problem with the Republican's (lack of any coherent) plan is that two parts of it are at odds with each other. On the one hand, they say individual states should come up with their own solutions. But they ALSO say that policies should be transferrable across state lines. The problems with this are obvious. Someone could get a cheapo plan from some state that goes into the business of cheapo plans (like some states make incorporation easy for fly-by-night businesses). But who has to deal with that when problems arise? The doctors, hospitals, and state coffers where the person lives.

Of course, it's not unusual for the Republicans to come up with a self-contradictory healthcare plan. The individual mandate, which they are now calling unconstitutional, was invented by BY THEM and proposed as part of their alternative to Hillarycare in the 1990s. And, in fact, they still supported it until 18 months ago, when they decided their only plan for governance was scoring cheap points against Obama.

‎"I believe that there is a bipartisan consensus to have individual mandates." Chuck Grassley (R-IA). June 14, 2009.

Alpine, UT

Mike gave the solution to our out-of-control health care costs, i.e. make people accountable for their choices. Chronic degenerative diseases, e.g. cardiovascular dz., OA, HTN, diabetes type II are largely related to a life time of poor lifestyle choices, which end up creating over 75% of health care dollars spent, crippling the nation financially and the individuals suffering with these diseases. The majority of these poor lifestyle choices are related to what we eat, and the lack of activity we give our bodies over the span of our lives. The medical journals are filled with studies verifying this simple truth. We must all suffer from one of two pains, the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.

Provo, UT

Leavitt is correct that the fee-for-service (FFS) system creates bad incentives:

Doctors make money off procedures, even if unneeded;

Payers make money taking premiums and stonewalling payment for procedures, even if needed;

Patients, for the most part, just want to get better, but are caught in the middle.

A few observations:

Historically, one alternative to bad FFS incentives has been the HMO that pays healthcare providers to keep a certain number of people healthy, emphasizing preventive medicine rather than incenting procedure proliferation.

But HMO physicians have difficulty getting rich performing unnecessary procedures, so HMOs dont always attract the best medical talent.

Low talent = less effectiveness, which = higher healthcare costs. Therefore, HMOs do not necessarily provide better healthcare.

Everybody will need healthcare at some point in their lives;

Nobody knows specifically who will need it or when;

Statistically, actuaries can predict how many in a population are likely to need care;

The healthcare question IS the insurance question.

Fundamentally, insurance (healthcare) is NOT and SHOULD not be a for profit endeavor.

Healthcare has gone wrong because it is treated like a for-profit business, most akin to a ponzi scheme.

This is not a simple problem to solve.

the boonies, mexico

Leavitt! Thank god he has no power anymore to institute his insurance biased ideas. You all know where this man made his money don't you? Or should I say scammed his money? Right the Leavitt family almost owns Utah from an insurance standpoint. Just let his recommendations roll out in the street because he is a biased man.

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