We the Patients have been left out of the negotiation. All I’ve seen are meetings with doctors, lawyers, insurance company’s, pharmaceutical company’s, union bosses, and politicians (who are not affected by this disaster because they have voted themselves lifetime premium medical coverage that is not accessible to the rest of us 300 million citizens) Glaringly absent from the negotiation are any private individuals? Why is that?
Washington has forgotten what insurance is. Insurance is nothing more than a hedge against loss in the event of a catastrophe. Insurance companies do not provide health care. They do not develop new technologies or make medical advances. They simply hedge against financial ruin in the event of a major illness or injury. Here’s my thoughts on a starting place for health reform?
1. Care providers should have to post their prices for their services and should not be able to charge a different price depending on who’s paying the bill. Should a gas station charge you a higher price if you’re paying with a company gas card? If providers are forced to disclose prices and compete for your business, price comes down. In some industries “Negotiated Rates” might be referred to as collusion and is illegal. And, if I’m not mistaken there are 31 States with Anti-Price gouging laws in an emergency, why are these laws not applicable in a medical emergency? Why do we accept this from health care providers? 3rd party payer is the root of the problem why prices are so high.
2. Basic care and maintenance like check-ups, doctor visits, etc. should be paid directly by the consumer. If medical care providers have to disclose their prices and consumers are responsible to pay for their own care watch how quickly care costs come down. Look at cosmetic and Lasik surgery and veterinary medicine. Insurance doesn’t cover it so providers must find a way to compete for your business and they do this by either lowering cost or increasing services. And, If insurance companies are not responsible for every medical bill then they will lower their premiums and when individuals pay less in premiums it frees up more money to pay for regular medical care. You don’t expect your homeowners insurance to cover when your dishwasher breaks or plumbing backs up. What would your car insurance premiums be if they had to cover oil changes and tuneups? Premiums come down if insurance is only used as intended.
3. Congress should pass legislation to prohibit the “pre-existing” conditions denial of insurance and return insurance to its original intent which is a hedge against loss in a catastrophic event or illness. Think outside the box on how risk is pooled. Risk pools are arbitrary and need to be completely open in order to spread risk. Instead of mandating everyone must buy coverage, they should mandate that insurers must cover everyone. Insurers play the odds that most people live healthy lives and make money when people pay premiums for long periods of time with no incidents or claims and yes they must pay those claims when they occur but if they are receiving premiums from a huge number of people who don’t get cancer as most don’t or become injured in a fiery crash as most don’t, then they make profits and employ people and the industry contributes to the economy. But insurers don’t need to pay higher prices (“negotiated rates”) charged by care providers because all that does is raise premiums.
4. All insurance should be sold individually and not provided through employers. This way, if you lose your job you don’t lose your insurance. If an employer wants to pay an amount toward your premium as a part of a benefits package that’s between you and them and not mandatory. If you lose your job, you simply lose that employers contribution toward your premium but your next employer may pick it up as part of their benefit’s package again, that’s negotiated between you an that employer.
5. Propose a plan to END medicare and medicaid. These are unsustainable entitlements that hinder fairness and competition and fleece taxpayers out of their earnings for something they will not benefit from. I say do the hard thing now! For seniors who are currently using the system, they should continue to receive these services because they have paid into this system on the promise of receiving benefits. To reduce or remove it from them now is theft and Americans are NOT promise breakers who go back on their word. However we need a plan to phase out medicare and medicaid over a period of time so that we have something better in place by the time the next generation of seniors arrive; Something that better reflects The United States of America not The United Socialist States of America. We are NOT a socialist nation and that has served us well for some 230 years. Why fix what ain’t broken?
6. Any new bill needs to make absolutely clear that absolutely NO Abortions will be paid for with tax payer dollars. The Bill of Rights – Amendment I – states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…..” One of the ways I “freely exercise” my religion is to not kill babies, If this is true then congress can NOT pass any law forcing me to subsidize with my taxes something that violates my free exercise of my religion, which is to not kill babies.
This a good starting point in any meaningful discussion on real health care reform. Unfortunately, Washington is not interested in the truth or reasoned debate. Unfortunately, Washington is not interested in what we the people and we the patients want. Unfortunately, Washington thinks that we the people are not capable to think for ourselves.