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Timely health care for all 

To the Editor:

Recognizing nothing can be simple in our lives, our country or the world, at times what may appear to be an overly simplistic approach to a problem could lead to a logical, efficient solution. As an example, individually and as a country we have seen and struggled with issues facing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Veterans Administration medical and Medicare/Medicaid.

In simple terms, developing a new system for the ACA seems to be a waste of resources to develop and react to a problem prone new system when a workable system (even with needed minor program adjustments/improvements) exists – namely Medicare/Medicaid.

The Medicare/Medicaid system is functional, already staffed and provides medical care assistance for elderly, dependent children, parents and disabled persons. An extension and enhancement of the existing Medicare/Medicaid system could add staff and further extend medical coverage to the broader group of uninsured.

Doctors, hospitals and insurance companies are already working within the Medicare/Medicaid system and how it works. The additional staffing and costs at the federal and state levels, and within insurance companies and health care organizations certainly would be lessened by expanding the existing system rather than developing a whole new system at the overall higher costs. A separate system it seems would be wasteful, problem prone and subject to a new level of fraud potential.

While we are posing this issue of a separate system, we should also consider the Health Care System, which is separate and shown to be subject to inefficiencies, delayed treatments and understaffing.

What if the VA health benefit program did not rely on a separate system of doctors, hospitals and health care professionals? Potentially, the VA health program could be an extension of the Medicare/Medicaid/ACA system to broaden coverage by private doctors, hospitals and health care professionals outside the VA.

This type of medical care outside the VA has already been proposed to help avoid treatment delays for our veterans. The existing VA hospitals and medical professionals could operate within the broader inclusionary program of Medicare/Medicaid/ACA/VA.

My point is that separate systems are inherently inefficient, cost more and do not provide optimal and timely medical care for their patients.

From a more personal observation, when one-third to one-half of doctors’ and hospital staffs’ time is spent in supporting the insurance/paperwork/administrative system, patient care costs are going to be higher than needed.

Let’s work on better and simpler accounting systems to properly identify patients’ insurance classification for benefits to optimize patient care at lower costs. That way everyone benefits.

We need to pursue a combined, efficient health care system to optimize federal and state, medical professional and insurance company staffing levels to reduce costs and provide full and timely health care for all our citizens.

Gerry Baker

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