Based on hits on the Yes-No post, a lot of people are apparently still looking for information on SD Initiative 17. So am I, but more and more I am leaning toward the idea that "NO" might be the better vote.
BUT, what this initiative really indicates and what the composition its supporters and opponents show is that the SD Legislature is derilict in their duties to serve citizens rather than the doctor/chiropractor special interest/clinics or the hospital/insurance special interests because mostly those groups are lined up on opposite sides of this. There just must be a better option to the problems with medical insurance coverage that Initiative 17. I am not sure that my perhaps vain hope is sufficient reason to vote "No" however.
South Dakota insurance regulators and the legislature can make sure that South Dakotans get fair treatment from their health insurance suppliers even when that requires a doctor not in the system that insures them or is the result of an emergency in the wrong town. They can also make certain that such necessities do not require extra payments. Legislators and the legislative research counsel should be able to devise a uniform billing system that works for all groups and all providers so that this protection does not generate billing nightmares and extra charges.
Your ideas and comments welcome. Legislators need to hear about patient and insured interests as well as those of the special corporate and medical interests.
[[Following added October 28, 2014: In the Mitchell Daily Republic Tuesday October 28, 2014 on page A5 (the Opinion page), Dr. Tom Dean, M.D. of Wessington springs wrote: I would urge a "NO" vote on Measure 17.
This is truly a "wolf in sheep's clothing". Why did I say that? The ads about freedom of choice are naturally appealing, but there is a great deal the ads do not tell you.
First, passage of this measure would severely restrict the ability of insurance companies to negotiate provider fees on behalf of their subscribers. It would therefore increase insurance premiums and health care costs.
Second, the proposal has been considered by the SD legislature on several occasions, and on each ocassion, they have rejected it. If it was simply a matter of freedom of choice for consumers, it is not likely the legislature would have taken such action.
Finally, the public needs to know who is in fact promoting this proposal. The sponsors are the for profit specialty hospitals-- most of which are owned by physicians who refer to them -- and various medical specialists whose high fees are being squeezed as the pressure for health care cost control becomes increasingly intense.
In summary, I would ask "Is it appropriate for the state to be dictating who an insurance company has to do business with?" In my view, it is not, and I would urge a "NO" vote on 17.
I find the doctors's letter interesting with several good points worth considering I am however not at all convinced of the reasons for the legislature reticence of the issue. I think it has more to do with political gutlessness and fear of upsetting special interests on all sides of this issue. As I indicated above, I think there are better ways to do what needs to be done.
***Stay tuned, I may waffle around a bit more on this in the next few days--Doug Wiken.