Our Opinion: It has to start somewhere

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Health care costs and reform are very popular topics. Each and every one of us are directly and indirectly affected by the cost of health care, insurance and prescription drugs. Politicians, realizing this, like to talk about fixing the system and making life better for all of us.

When push comes to shove, and it is time for the details to be worked out, more often than not the fixing falls apart and nothing gets done. Health care is more than just a local problem, more than just a state problem, it is a national problem and needs a national solution.

We all know THAT's not going to happen, so how does anything ever get done? Whatever the federal government can't or won't solve usually falls to the states. Fortunately for Iowans, it looks like there is a glimmer of hope that something will be done.

Recently, a committee of the Iowa Legislature comprised of members of both parties, made recommendations for legislation designed to slow the rising cost of health insurance for businesses. The committee studied the problem for three months and have wide ranging suggestions for lawmakers.

The group's report asks legislators to look at group purchasing, which allows businesses to form insurance pools to cut costs, health savings accounts, tax incentives, wellness programs and development of a fund to help pay catastrophic costs.

Rep. Jeff Kaufmann, R-Wilton, said at the release of the report, "There's no silver bullet and it's very, very important that we understand here that we're not looking at some quick ̃xes that are going to immediately reduce people's health care costs and bills. What we're looking at is ways to slow the growth."

We hope that the legislature is able to find common ground to help Iowa's small businesses continue to offer health insurance coverage for their workers. The concepts this group are advocating are not new, and this legislation could serve as a blueprint for other states.

Reform has to begin somewhere, why not here?