A Better Approach to Health Care

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

Health care spending eats up a large portion – nearly $1.3 billion this year – of our state budget. Part of that money is spent on the state match for Medicaid, a federal program that is growing out of control. I recently came across an idea for a more efficient use of those tax dollars.

Avik Roy, a National Review Online health care blogger, suggests that fewer tax dollars would be needed if the money went directly to low-income individuals instead of funneling the money through federal health care coverage.

Roy looked at Congressional Budget Office and Medicaid Actuary projections and found that the Medicaid program will cover 5 million fewer people by 2017 but nearly double in cost, rising from an average cost of $9,815 per person to $19,249 per person. Meanwhile, the average private-sector individual health plan costs $4,386.

Medicaid is one of many inefficient spending systems. With a federal deficit that is spinning out of control and such a large portion of tax dollars going to health care programs, something must be done. I would encourage you to petition your federal Congressional representatives about this idea.

One of the major problems under the current Obama administration is excess spending. If Roy’s study is any indication, this spending comes about through funneling money through expensive and inefficient programs rather than streamlining it directly to its intended recipients. Though I would even question if it is the responsibility of taxpayers to fund health care, I think that it is clear that the money is not being used properly.

I thought I might also mention a growing trend in which doctors are converting their practices to concierge services. Most are doing so because they want to see fewer patients, but give those patients a higher level of care. Their patients pay them an annual fee and can get in to see their doctor the same day they make their appointment, in addition to getting more of the doctor’s focus and follow-up. I think that there may be an idea here that could be adapted to improve our health care system.

I would like to thank all the folks who made the Okeene 69th Annual Whea-Esta a great success. A big thank you goes to Sherri Feely and everyone at the Okeene Chamber of Commerce. The event could not have been pulled off without you. I enjoyed being a part of this great tradition.

I will be traveling through the district during the interim and will keep you regularly updated on the ideas and problems presented to me by constituents. As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.

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