By Dave Warren

(The format of this post is to present, in italics, a section or excerpts thereof of the 2012 Kansas GOP platform followed by the critique.)

True health care reform requires a systematic approach to gaining efficiency by focusing on the patient.

I wish I knew what “a systematic approach to gaining efficiency” meant. Certainly we don’t want a chaotic approach, but why systematic? Does it mean all aspects of health care? Why not a “reasonable” or “collaborative” approach? What is the need to gain “efficiency” as opposed to being effective. Does that mean less time with a doctor or in a hospital for each health issue? And why focus on the patient? The patient doesn’t run the health care system. Doctors and hospitals run it. This lead sentence is a platitude that does not bode well for real concern about health care or the insurance that helps fund it.

Transparency of cost creates a consumer-based environment of health care, thus promoting the use of Health Savings Accounts and other similar choices that empower the individual in making health care choices for themselves and their families.

A health savings account doesn’t empower individuals in their health care choices. A HAS is a device to shield health care expenses from income tax. More platitudes.

In addition, Kansans should have the opportunity to shop for insurance policies across state lines, making the price of these policies competitive.

And should Kansans give up the benefits of state regulation of insurance policies?  Will they have to leave the state to buy their health insurance, because if it is sold in Kansas it must comply with Kansas laws and regulations. The prices of insurance policies regulated by Kansas and offered in other states by all the same companies that do business in Kansas are already competitive. This statement is a “red herring” that does nothing to reform health insurance. Is this fostered by the insurance industry to evade state regulation?

Imperative to lowering the cost of health care is the implementation of meaningful tort reform for medical malpractice.

Kansas already has passed tort reform and it did little to lower health care costs. Actually, health care providers kept their fees and charges the same and added annual increases that outpace inflation.

Under the tenth amendment, Kansas has the constitutional right to govern the state and the policies affecting its citizens.  We must reestablish our right to determine federal health care mandates unconstitutional by adopting the Health Care FreedomAmendment.  We encourage the Kansas Legislature to join in all lawsuits against the Federal Government’s authority over individual liberty and state’s rights regarding health care.

Rather than waste the State’s resources jousting with windmills like Cervantes famed Don Quixote, lawsuits and other obstructionist measures should be abandoned. Our legislators and the governor should direct their efforts at fostering the Common Good by participating in the health care reform measures in the Affordable Health Care Act. If better ways of reaching the objective of health care for all citizens, they should be offered in public forums

Obamacare may not be perfect and may not have done much to lower health care costs, but it is a start. Health care is not about “individual liberty and state’s rights”. It’s about living - living free from disease, debilitating illnesses and physical conditions, and infirmness of body/mind, and receiving care that only health professionals can provide for bodily needs. Health care is a universal service that should be available to all regardless of their station in life. Health care is about being treated with dignity in life and in death. A political party should have a platform that supports measures to make these imperatives real, rather than mere platitudes.

Dave Warren is a Kansan and co-founder of the Moderate Party of Kansas

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  • commented 2013-12-22 02:12:09 -0600
    Thank you
  • commented 2013-08-20 19:58:39 -0500
    While I admit I have not read the ACA, or even perused the names of all the subsections, I remain confident that the give and take of writing such a complex piece of legislation gave much opportunity for political gamesmanship and word play by both parties. Most legislation, once passed, needs some future level of tweaking to correct unintended consequences or oversight. I have no doubt the ACA has its share of problems, however, the current 40 (and counting) repeal attempts by the current Republican majority and their continued saber-rattling about holding the budget hostage only further demonstrates their inability to govern in any meaningful way. I, for one, anticipate a major rebuke by the electorate in the 2014 election cycle.

    To use one of my favorite quotes I attribute to William Allen White, “It happens first in Kansas!”. I truly hope that our efforts are successful in not only returning Kansas to it’s progressive roots, but helping return civility to the National scene. And, while a KU fan, I have to say that I look forward to seeing the red and blue moderates in Kansas create a fantastically purple state!