Cheney Free Press -

More health care options might reduce money's impact

In our opinion


It’s time for the state to look elsewhere for better health care coverage, and that can be done easily by allowing health care options to be purchased outside of Washington.

Opening up health care across Washington’s state line will allow for greater opportunities for other companies to come in and compete with the established health insurance companies.

Unfortunately, it appears that the state Legislature isn’t even close to considering that type of change. Although politicians may say otherwise, part of the reason for not changing is due to money changing hands between companies and the government.

In addition, the rules don’t apply to political representatives. The real issue at hand is money and how it influences the decisions in our federal and state government. Lobbyists and benefits provided to politicians seem to outweigh the needs of constituents back home.

In reality, should a part-time employee of the public, like a state representative, receive health benefits like they do? Even full-time employees are seeing their deductible rates increase, leaving little money left from peoples’ paychecks.

Community Health Systems’ CEO Wayne Smith makes $21 million each year, but is that really justifiable when costs for health care are increasing? Smith’s Tennessee-based company is the largest publicly traded hospital company in the U.S.

Other healthcare company executives rake in multimillion-dollar salaries in Washington state. Those executives are making big bucks off of Americans’ declining health. It’s the reason that some countries have decided to nationalize their health care system, in order to reduce the amount of people profiteering off of the misfortune of others. Cutting the profits out of the health care system would help to lower the cost on the consumer end. It certainly wouldn’t amount to a great savings per person, but it’s a start.

CEOs will always be paid big bucks for their work. They are at the top of the company, after all, and work well over 10 to 12 hours each day. Their jobs are on a bigger scale than 90 percent of the others out there.

But instead of an eight-figure salary, couldn’t someone working in the health care arena get by with $4 or 5 million?

Paying health care CEOs is slightly different than paying a professional athlete millions of dollars, we believe. After all, we can choose at our own leisure to attend a baseball or football game. It’s our choice to purchase a ticket at those games.

But, when someone is sick, they don’t have any other choice but to visit a doctor’s office. Even though it may be just a routine check-up, the cost for a visit grows each year. Going to a baseball game won’t make you healthy, although some might argue otherwise.

But for CEOs like Smith, they’re profiting off of the pain and suffering of average citizens.

The bottom line is that allowing Washington residents to purchase health care across state lines will lower prices all around. Having a greater number of competitors, just like in the regular marketplace, also improves the service offered to residents, allowing them to tailor a health coverage plan to their specific needs.

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