We often hear the complaint that millions of people are without healthcare, which of course is a false accusation, for they can always go to the emergency room. How do we create a system that produces an incentive to regularly visit the clinic rather than go to the emergency room, which costs five times more than the clinic? We need to be mature enough to recognize that we're already absorbing the cost, so we should use economic dollars rather than premium dollars to care for them. When people visit clinics, there is often more of a tendency to focus on preventive care. It's critical that our goals should be to prevent medical issues from becoming worse and to delve into the primary cause of the problem. Many of us are now aware that receiving care in the emergency room only concerns itself with the immediate acute problem at hand.

Catastrophic care, which allows insurance companies to falsely elevate the cost of premiums, must be given a serious overhaul. These companies often claim they have all these catastrophic healthcare needs they are responsible for. We now have the ability, through Medicare, to shift the responsibility of catastrophic healthcare away from the private sector and to the government. There is no need to create a new entity that already exists, which is Medicare.

Of critical importance is tort reform. A system has to be created that cares for the need of people who sustain medical injuries. The best way is not to reinvent the wheel but look to others who have been successful in doing so. When we speak about the cost of medical litigation, we need to consider not only the astronomical dollar amount but also the disruption that losses cause in the lives of doctors and the practice of hospitals. We must look closely at the cost of defensive medicine, which is out of control but very difficult to measure quantitatively.

This is a logical and bold start. Is President Obama listening?

Visit www.armstrongwilliams.com.