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October 22, 2014

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letter to the editor:

More competition, lower costs

Subhas Dhodapkar, in his Oct. 11 letter to the editor, shows he doesn’t understand Obamacare.

His suggestion that Congress didn’t examine how other countries’ health care systems are structured is irrelevant. We’re 50 years past that point of no return.

The goal of Obamacare is not unlike Medicare in that everyone who can possibly contribute to the system, in this case the private, for-profit health care insurance industry, should.

For those who cannot contribute, there will be government subsidies funded by those paying taxes. This happens now via the public health care system; locally, it’s University Medical Center and Medicaid.

A more insidious problem that is never addressed is called limited competition. A good example is when your physician says you need a CT scan, MRI, etc. If you’re insured, your cost will likely be covered at some percentage less your insurer’s deductibles. If you have no insurance, you can expect costs to be much higher.

The problem for the insured comes when your doctor writes that test directive. In almost every case, it will be sent to only one provider. You can’t call other providers and obtain the cost for that test unless your doctor has authorized that test with that provider. Don’t bother calling your insurance company to ask “who is the lowest-cost provider in my network?” They will not tell you, even though you are paying for in-network coverage.

So, if you think health coverage is competitive, think again. Obamacare is a step toward better health care at a lower cost.

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