I thought the Obama team shared my understanding that the problem with health care in America is the cost, not the quality or coverage. I supported the efforts of the President and the Congress to totally revise our health care system. I made a mistake.

Contrary to popular folklore all Americans have access to health care. Over 45 million Americans are enrolled in Medicare and over 50 million are enrolled in Medicaid. It is estimated that at least 5 million more Americans are elegible for Medicaid. Thus almost one-third of Americans are covered or could be covered under present Federal health care programs.

As far as I can gather, all counties in the USA have public health clinics where anyone can obtain health care. Those who can pay, pay relatively modest fees. Those who cannot pay are covered by public funds.

All who show up at public hospital emergency rooms must be treated. Again, they will pay if they are able and, if not able, the costs are covered by the facility.

The problem is not access to health care, but its cost, it is too expensive. Again, we pay two to two and half times what European countries pay for roughly the same levels and standards of health care.

Most blame the health insurance companies for this situation. That is the equivalent of killing the messenger for delivering bad news. Health insurance companies are controlled by state insurance regulators who control the fees set by the insurers, akin to the control of utility companies. The health insurance firms are allowed to charge rates that cover their costs and yield a reasonable profit.

So the problem we have in health care is to control costs. Nothing in the new health care bill winding its way through the Congress does this. Sure, it talks about ending abuse and erroneous payments. But in almost 2000 pages of legislation it says nothing about how to cut the fees and other costs for medical services. Even worse, the Congress will vote tomorrow on a related bill that delays implementing cuts in Medicare payments to doctors set by previous legislation for another year. The original bill called for an average 21% cut in fees paid to doctors.

So what do we have? Well a bill that will extend health insurance to those who do not qualify under Medicare or Medicaid or who have chosen until now to not buy private health insurance. The bill does nothing to expand the availability of health care or, to beat a subject to death, nothing to control the outrageous increases in cost.

Since the President and the Congress have missed the main point, I no longer support this move.