The Daily Targum

Debate Considers Different Health Care Options For NJ

The Daily Targum — Thursday, October 15, 2009

By Spruha Magodia
Staff Writer

Questions regarding national health care issues have concerned Americans for the past several months and a University health care debate Wednesday addressed issues on three types of health care options: private insurance, the public option and single player.

Private insurance is America's present health care system; the public option offers either public or private health insurance, while the single payer plan supports one umbrella plan.

Tom Knoche, a campaign coordinator from Health Care-NOW, is an advocate of the single-player option of health care reform.

"[The single-player option] is one plan for everybody, all 300 million of us," he said.

This option is like taking Medicare, but extending it to cover the entire population, which he considers economical and fair, he said.

"Services will be privately delivered but publicly funded," he said. "Only patients and chosen health care professionals will determine treatment."

The plan would reduce deficit spending, he said. As of right now, 30 percent of what private insurance companies spend is $350-400 billion.

"Patients and doctors want the single player plan," he said.

State Director of Americans for Prosperity Colette Campbell supports private insurance, citing that 1.3 million New Jersey residents — 56 percent of the state's population — lack insurance due to over-mandated regulations. And 69 percent of the country's debt is due to health care related costs.

"Health care should be about the patient," she said.

But without a public option, there is no incentive for insurance companies to treat people better, said James Woodson, Central Jersey organizer for New Jersey Citizen Action. The plan has to be honest and accountable, provide greater choice and stability, and the premiums should go to health care, not to CEOs' salaries.

Campbell said in the current proposed legislation, employers pay a tax for their employees who do not have a public insurance plan.

"The CEOs of insurance companies are getting richer," Woodson said. "Every 12 minutes someone dies because they are denied health care."

Woodson said 30 million people cannot afford health care or are denied because of a preexisting condition.

But Knoche said the reform bill in Congress will not make health care a human right, will not eliminate disparities of age and will not help women.

"I wish they spoke more about how health care reform could help eliminate health care inequities, like those among whites and minorities, women and men, and so on," said Devangi Patel, a pre-med student and School of Arts and Sciences junior.

Campbell said Texas is a successful example of a state-managed health care system.

An average, healthy 25-year-old male would pay $960 a year in health insurance, she said. But in New Jersey, the same man would end up paying $5,880 a year.

"It was a change from the things you are constantly hearing on CNN," Patel said on the lecture in general. "They had the time to explain myths, and it was great that they talked about it in the context of New Jersey."

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