How Hard is This?

December 19, 2009

Another rant:

I've been following the health care debate in this country for a while now, including attending a Town Hall meeting on the subject. Now, I am FED UP! Seriously, how hard is it to write this bill? What the Dems have come up with recently isn't worth the paper it's written on. Raise premiums? Cut benefits? How is that supposed to help anyone?

If I were sitting on Congress, this is the health care bill I would propose:

1. Reinstate anti-trust laws and allow businesses and individuals to buy insurance plans from any company, in-state or out. The increased competition to find the best cost-to-coverage ratio will lower insurance premiums.

2. Require businesses/employers to provide at least basic health insurance for all employees. Why? Because employers can purchase bulk health plans at a cheaper cost per policy than individuals. In exchange, the government could offer a tax break to businesses.

3. Reserve a government-run option for citizens living at or below the poverty line who are not covered by an employer's policy (to include children). The government plan would cover four clinical visits and one emergency visit per individual per year at selected clinics and hospitals offering quality care at the lowest cost to the government. Vaccines, school physicals, eye exams and glasses, and basic dental would be free for all children 15 and under. Low premiums--determined by income--would help cover some of the cost of the government option.

4. Cap award amounts for malpractice suits. Malpractice insurance comprises a huge chunk of current medical costs, which are passed on to patients in the form of higher hospital bills. Capping the award amounts would ultimately lower insurance costs for both doctors and patients.

5. Allow the importation of generic medications for beneficiaries of Medicare D. Such a move would help lower Medicare costs without cutting benefits, while allowing local pharmaceutical companies to retain a large market share with the rest of the public.

6. Require every citizen to carry some form of health insurance.* The more people who buy in, the lower overall insurance premiums should become.
*Only acceptable when there is free competition for health insurance as described in Part 1.

7. Streamline hospital and clinical admissions/processing to lower administrative costs. Every citizen has a social security number, right? Why not design a national health database system in which a receptionist at any clinic or hospital could enter a person's SSN and instantly access his or her medical records for the past year? Such a system would save untold amounts of time and money that are usually spent filling out, processing, and filing separate medical forms every time a patient transfers from one clinic or hospital to another. Some hospitals, like Roper St. Francis, are already trying to establish similar electronic filing systems.

I'm sure I could go on with other ideas, but this would be the basic plan. And it would have to work without increasing the federal deficit. Are you listening, Obama?

1 comment:

C. Beth said...

Wouldn't it be nice if we could have a bill like that--one that is actually able to be read and understood by the general public?!

I see you're due very close to my daughter's birthday; she will be 4 on 1/14. These last weeks can be challenging (and it feels like the pregnancy is going on forever....) Hope it's a joyful season for you!

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