Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Opinion Roundup; Bernie Sanders' Expensive Health Plan

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Opinion Roundup; Bernie Sanders' Expensive Health Plan

Article excerpt

The Affordable Care Act was birthed with two serious flaws.

It did not sufficiently control costs and it had no bipartisan support. And not everyone is covered.

Nevertheless, Obamacare is a long way from the liberal dream of a single-payer system, the Medicare-for-all system used in Canada.

But if Sen. Bernie Sanders had his way, he would repeal Obamacare and replace it with a Canadian-style system.

That shows just how far out of the mainstream Sanders is.

Sen. Marco Rubio had a good line in a Republican debate: "Bernie Sanders would make a good president ... of Sweden."

In fact, the single-payer idea was proposed in Sanders' home state of Vermont but dropped because it required too many tax increases.

As a story in The New York Times states, the Sanders plan is more of a tax plan than a health plan.

It would include higher income taxes, increase payroll taxes and raise various taxes on high-income Americans.

The Sanders plan would add $1.4 trillion to federal health care spending based on savings sounding suspiciously unrealistic.

Henry Aaron of the progressive Brookings Institution wrote that proposed savings alone would not work, that fewer services or reduced prices would be needed, causing a radical disruption of one-sixth of the economy.

And the Sanders plan would radically change the health care system in the United States.

As an economics professor told the Times, "The details very quickly get very messy."

The fact is that Obamacare still keeps employer-based health insurance, which most Americans are pleased with.

And it uses the private market to expand access for those who are not poor.

In addition, Republican-led states have expanded Medicaid by using the private market as much as possible.

Obamacare needs to be reformed with more emphasis on choice, transparency and cost control.

Use the choices available with the private market rather than have the government dictate options.

DIAGNOSING DEPRESSION

All adults should be screened regularly for depression, suggests a federal panel, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Indeed, it sounds strange that an annual physical would not include some assessment of mental health as well.

The new recommendations suggest that virtually all adults be asked a battery of questions designed to identify warning signs of depression.

Some signs include prolonged sadness or irritability, feelings of worthlessness, sleep disturbances and loss of interest in activities that once were enjoyable.

Depression, a prime driver of suicide, is a leading killer and cause of disability.

Experts say depression is widely undiagnosed, reports The Los Angeles Times.

Only a third of those with severe depression have seen a mental health professional in the last year. …

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