If you go
What: Routt County Republican Central Committee meeting
When: Noon Wednesday
Where: Commissioners' hearing room at the Routt County Courthouse
Steamboat Springs Comparing health care systems in Europe with those in the United States and how the American system could change under President Barack Obama is the topic of Wednesday's Routt County Republican Central Committee meeting.
Henry Fabian, an orthopedic surgeon at Yampa Valley Medical Center, will be the keynote speaker at the group's regular meeting held on the first Wednesday of every month. Members of the public are invited to attend at noon in the third floor commissioners' hearing room of the Routt County Courthouse.
Jack Taylor, chairman of the Republican Central Committee and retired state senator, said the local party dedicates 30 to 60 minutes of each meeting to a discussion about current issues. He said health care is a timely one.
"It's near the top of the agenda of things coming down the pike at the federal level, and a pretty highly contested one," Taylor said.
Fabian said he has a unique perspective on the subject, having practiced in Europe and the U.S. He said the goal of his address is to relay some of the facts and "false truths" about single-payer systems, which are used in many European countries and are similar to the health care plan proposed by Obama.
Fabian said there's a perception that many European health systems are more cost-effective, but he says that's "simply not true." They're perceived that way because health care in those countries is rationed, he said.
Fabian also said there's a false perception that single-payer systems have lower overhead costs. Fabian said overhead costs of a U.S. version of that type of system, Medicare, have increased 34 percent since 1965 and administration costs have increased 2,000 percent since the mid-1980s.
He said that illustrates that a government-run, single-payer system in the U.S. is less efficient than private insurance.
"It's counter-intuitive to me that the federal government would be more innovative and cost-effective (than private) when they've never been able to do that," Fabian said.
He said health care is a critically important issue because it affects everyone.
Fabian said offering tax credits to hospitals and private-practice physicians who treat individuals without insurance could help bridge the access gap. He also said removing restrictions so that private insurance providers can sell insurance across state lines would help.