Friday, August 21, 2009

What SHOULD Healthcare Reform Look Like?

This is such an important topic, I wanted to share with you, something a little off our usual topic. In my last post, I showed how the slippery slope in HR3200 will lead to a socialized healthcare system by mandating employers cover all workers
So don't let anyone tell you that this isn't socialized medicine. Any public option = socialized medicine by default.

However, we can't just attack the current plan without offering alternatives. So, here are my healthcare reform suggestions.
1. Let doctors write off their uncompensated care. Currently doctors are one of the only professions that can't deduct bad debt as ordinary business expenses. Limit the deduction so that primary care doctors have an advantage over specialists. That instantly solves care for the truly indigent.
2. Mandate that all insurance companies offer at least two tiers of coverage.
a. First tier is catastrophic health coverage, like it used to be. However, available to everyone, no preexisting condition exclusion.
b. Additional premium tiers for people who wan't Cadillac policies or don't want to pay copays (see number 4).
3. Let individuals write off the cost of their self-paid health insurance premiums.
4. Make non-indigent patients responsible to pay part of their expenses (ie, copays/deductibles). Currently we have people who don't pay a dime because their insurance has no copay. Yet, these same people have cell phones, cable TV, internet, new cars, etc. If you don't have to pay to take your car to the mechanic, you'll take it in more often. Same is true for healthcare.
5. Illegal aliens. They're not going away and account for a huge burden on our healthcare system. I suggest at least make them pay taxes and play by the same rules as we do. Maybe be grant them citizenship in return.
6. Make insurance portable between jobs to eliminate waiting periods for preexisting conditions when you change jobs.
7. Pass medical tort reform. States that have this have lower costs and have plenty of physicians. States that don't have physician shortages. For example, I have never been sued, but my malpractice insurance this year cost about $20,000. This would probably not pass Congress because most of them are attorneys, but it is the number one thing that could be done to decrease overall healthcare costs.
Why? Doctors order tons of unnecessary and expensive tests to keep from getting sued. It's sad but absolutely true. Let's say a doctor has a patient who has a 1/10,000 chance of having a serious but rare problem. If they don't order the test(s) there are plenty of attorneys advertising on television to take their case to court.
Oh, and illegal aliens can sue also, even though they may go to an ER and never pay a dime. I'm not bashing aliens, I'm just pointing out a major flaw in our current system.

Again both parties have their share of the blame. There are dozens of bills in congress that are more balanced (like Coburn's Patients First Act), but the democrats won't let them out of committee. The flip side is the republicans had a majority for 6 years and never brought anything up.

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