In his recent letter to the Daily News-Record, the writer mentioned my recent letter about Medicaid expansion. He states my opinion was, “inhumane and un-Christian.”

I started working in health care in 1973. I am a pharmacist and a dentist. I have worked for small drug stores and for large inner-city hospitals like Johns Hopkins. As a dentist, I have treated patients in small dental offices and in large government-run clinics like the Veterans Affairs. I have worked in the operating rooms at Portsmouth Naval Hospital and in makeshift dental clinics in remote areas of the Dominican Republic, North West Alaska and in the Mohave Desert.

I share this so the reader may understand I have over 40 years of experience working in health care under a wide variety of practice models and settings.

I recently wrote a letter indicating Medicaid for all in Virginia was a very bad idea. Medicaid is a federal program designed to provide necessary medical care to the poor. It was instituted in 1965 when there were many workers in our economy paying into a program with relatively few beneficiaries. Now the math has changed. In our economy we have fewer workers paying for more and more beneficiaries. Some states are even providing Medicaid to undocumented immigrants.

Being against Medicaid expansion does not mean I am against health care benefits for all citizens in our country. I ran for Congress in 2018 with the idea that Obamacare and the expansion of Medicaid would hurt our country. Obamacare pushes Americans into a single-payer system for health care. It represents a government takeover of medical care in the United States. It will destroy the world’s best and most innovative health care system.

I believe we can do better. Many have proposed a system where a medical consumer can “buy-in” to Medicaid. Taxpayers would be allowed to use pre-tax dollars to purchase Medicaid just like it is any other insurance program. If a consumer wanted to purchase a more expensive medical insurance plan from another provider like Anthem or Met Life, he could pay the additional cost himself.

The poor would be given a voucher for Medicaid.

This would put Medicaid in competition with other health insurance plans. Consumers would have choice in the market just like they do when they purchase life insurance or automobile insurance.

Why can’t everyone support this idea? Increasingly, the American voter is expecting free stuff from the government. In surveys, some voters indicate they expect free health care, free college tuition and free child care.

Those politicians who are having trouble winning their next election are putting their political ambitions ahead what is best for our country. Single-payer health care provided by the federal government will hurt our country. Short-sighted benefits like Medicaid expansion will cause huge problems in the future. Crippling our health care system and hurting our country to win the next election is inhumane. Looking to “free” programs from the federal government for all our needs is foolish.

Douglas Wright lives in Rockingham.

(3) comments

Mike Muterspaugh

Most Drs. office will not accept Medicaid because it pays very little for their services. Not a workable solution.

billnonymous

I know quite a few physicians who took down their "Medicaid/Medicare accepted" signs and replaced them with "Visa/Mastercard accepted" signs and they are doing very well for themselves. One literally doubled her income by doing this. Why spend $2,000 fixing some kids cleft palate only to get a $1,500 check from Medicare and then pay staff to fight with insurers to get the other $500 just so you don't lose money when you can enhance the breast size of some rich woman who is more than happy put a $10,000 charge on her VISA Black Card for a set of 36Cs? I can't blame either one for doing just that.

hbdansby

How does buying through insurance, whether a public option like Medicaid or otherwise, introduce competition into the system? I guess patients seek out the best insurance for the lowest premiums, and the insurers then pressure providers to accept lower payments. But isn’t this how Obamacare was set up, with the advantage that regulation requires the insurance plans to be uniform across insurers. Of course, to please conservatives, the public option Douglas Wright wants was dropped from Obamacare.

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