Cass County board to Obama: Redo health carePublished 6:42pm Friday, May 6, 2011
CASSOPOLIS — President Obama doesn’t typically get mail from the Cass County Board of Commissioners.
But that’s about to change.
A unanimous commission — all 15 members, Republicans and Democrats alike — voted to relay their displeasure with health care costs to Obama as well as to U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, Gov. Rick Snyder, state Sen. John Proos and state Reps. Sharon Tyler and Matt Lori.
Resolution 59 of 2011, read in its entirety by Commissioner Charlie Arnold, R-Cassopolis, urges Washington to revisit health care reform with the intention of providing quality care for all while driving the cost of providing that care down because “in the United States we are at a competitive disadvantage with other industrialized countries (which) provide health care to their citizens in a more comprehensive and efficient manner. This vital and complex change in the way health care should be funded and delivered would involve all parties who have a stake in the system.”
“Be it further resolved that the Cass County Board of Commissioners urges support from both the public sector and private sectors to strongly urge Congress to bring together in a forum those who comprise the existing health care system,” with “health care providers, insurance companies, doctors, lawyers, drug manufacturers, academia and consumers” setting aside individual interests to develop a comprehensive and efficient health care system that will not only provide quality care to all, but to do so in an efficient manner that will benefit the American people as well as those employers who are bearing an unfair burden in funding the health care within the present system.”
Continued changes to public sector benefits challenges health care reform, according to the resolution, which calls it “a necessity for employers who provide health care for employees and their dependents. The rapid escalation of health care costs has resulted in close to 50 million Americans without health care coverage. Those who have health care coverage have seen a dramatic increase in costs through co-pay, deductible and higher premium costs.”
The United States spends almost twice as much more per capita on health care costs than other industrialized countries, the county officials argue.
“In our global economy,” the resolution asserts, “health care costs to the private sector create a disadvantage to U.S. companies competing against foreign companies that have government-sponsored universal health care. Health care reform to cover all Americans under an affordable health care for all program will enable the U.S. to compete with all other industrialized countries for jobs that have been outsourced for a generation because of the costs of the employer providing health care.”
The resolution says the “health care status quo is not acceptable and, without real health care reform, America will continue to spiral down, burdened by a health care system that is inefficient, obsolete and unaffordable. The Cass County Board of Commissioners urges our federal legislators to address the problem of the uninsured in America as a top priority. Be it further resulted that, in addition to the problem with the millions of uninsured Americans, the Cass County Board of Commissioners strongly emphasizes reform in the manner in which health care is funded and delivered.”
Commissioner Carl Higley Sr., R-Edwardsburg, said it would be a start if lawmakers read what they adopt if they take another run at reforming health care.
“I really can’t see the government getting a decent health care program, but I’m going to support it because the one we’re in surely needs work. We’re asking them to take a look at it,” Higley commented.
Commissioner Ron Francis, R-Cassopolis, voiced reluctance because he didn’t want his vote misinterpreted as blessing the “mess” Congress crafted on its first try.
“They’ve already taken a look at it and look at what we got, which I can’t support.”
“This document encourages our elected officials to do something to repair it,” said Commissioner Robert Wagel, R-Wayne Township.