Longtime former state health officer seeks factual debate of federal proposal

Based on my past experiences in health care administration and current understanding of the proposed health insurance reform proposals, I would like to make a statement.

The proposals are complex, but the problems addressed are just as complex and difficult to solve. The program has been described as a “government takeover of health care” or even worse as a socialist plot.

On the other side, the proponents claim that it will solve all problems with the costs and availability of health care. Both sides are overstating what the actual outcomes will be.

First, a few facts: The costs of health care in our country are on a non-sustainable upward spiral. The average family of four, with an annual income of $40,000 to $50,000 expends about $12,000 to $15,000 on health insurance.

This amounts to approximately 23 percent of income. This cost is increasing about 6 to 10 percent each year. Our per-capita costs are about double those in other developed countries.

Alton B. Cobb, M.D., of Jackson served as Mississippi’s state health officer from 1973-1993.
Clarion Ledger
3/14/10