Universal Health Care Points to Consider.

This is a bit late, but I needed some time to think about it and compose it…. Here’s my comments on what another political commentator provided to me as points for Government Run Health Care:

“1. No gov’t control or gov’t run health care system. I haven’t seen the gov’t run anything efficiently…including themselves for years now.”

I totally agree. In fact we should lessen the amount of government involvement we already have in health care (and many other things). The Federal government already pays for the majority of all health care provided in this nation. This is the primary reason so many people want a reform, because it’s getting increasingly more expensive for Government to continue paying for it. What the current proposals basically do, is take all the money insurance companies currently make to pay for a huge budget short fall that will happen in Medicare and Social Security over the next few decades.

From Dailykos.com:

“The old get Medicare, paid for by taxes. Those in the riskiest line of work, war, get the Veteran’s Administration, paid for by taxes. The poor get Medicaid, paid for by taxes. Then we have those who are employed by the Federal Government, the States, the County, the towns. Their health insurance too, is paid for by taxes, although the tax money mostly goes towards the profits of the private health insurance companies. So tax money directly pays for medical care of the highest risk categories. We pay high profit to the insurance companies for the prime, low health risks of public employees. Put all the people together whose health care is paid by tax dollars already and we’ve got about 60% of the population covered.”

“2. Fed’l gov’t eliminate the fraud that is in Medicare & Medicaid.”

How? I agree, but it’s not always that easy. From what I’ve heard it has been tried many times already, and I suspect it fails each time because of people playing politics. In fact my opinion is that a free society like ours will only survive so long as the majority of it’s people are moral and honest, so I guess my answer would be more of a spiritual one then a secular or police state kind of answer. Having “leaders” in congress that don’t show us good examples to follow certainly doesn’t help.

“3. Tort reform. Put a cap on lawsuits, unless it is gross negligence by the doctor or hospital. Example, the soldier that went in to have his gall bladder remove and the surgeon removed his leg. Unfortunately, the soldier can’t sue because his operation happen at a VA hospital.
4. Hold attorney (s) accountable for filing frivolous lawsuits. Disbar them after 2 frivolous lawsuits.”

I think caps shouldn’t be a set amount, but based on something like how the persons loss will affect their lively hood, or the livelihood of their family, plus reasonable lawyer fees.
Better yet, what I’d like to see is a broader reform of how lawsuits work in general. I’ve researched many situations (particularly around land usage – you know those dang ATV’s, 4×4’s, and speed boats. 😉 ) were the plaintiff creates the situation that they then sue over, and since they have nothing to loose (especially when their lawyers are already paid for by the ACLU or the Sierra Club) they have no reservations about creating frivolous law suites. I’d like to see the defendants have a right to have a counter suit automatically entered as part of the same court hearings to pay for lawyer fees and time losses if the suite is shown to be frivolous, unwarranted, or possibly even for no other reason then the defendants win the case. It’s easy to falsely blame someone else for something if you have nothing to loose yourself.

“5. Umbrella or co-op programs. There should be a regional, or on a national level a health insurance policy for Real-estate brokers, accounting field, retail, construction, IT, car repair shops, etc. It is getting to expensive for small businesses, to afford to provide health insurance for their employees.”

Some would say co-ops are just another word for “government take-over”. I need to understand them better myself, but I think the real answer is to get insurance for major medical, and then have a tax free health care savings account (similar to a 401k) that rolls over year after year, that your kids can inherit, to pay for everything else (and I’d use a broad definition of “medical use” that includes natural or alternative medicine if the person so chooses). Employers could simply be required to offer to contribute to the savings account in place of any other heath insurance they may offer (it’s as simple as doing a direct deposit). It creates the same kind of competition that consumer driven spending has done for everything else to help keep costs down. If you decide to withdraw from it for non-medical use, you just have to pay taxes on it, and maybe some tax related fees.

“6. Allow insurance companies to cross state lines.”

This is were the Federal government actually has power to get involved. If it stays within state borders, constitutionally it’s NOT under Federal jurisdiction, but as soon as it crosses those invisible lines, it become inter-state commerce and is now up to congress to regulate and control it. Is that really what we want? More government involvement? This might be a good idea, but then again, it may no be.

Before there was insurance, it was up to the local towns to provide a doctor for the town. The doctors often didn’t get paid much, but people who went to see them would often try to give them something to supplement their income. Hospitals were originally run by states, counties or private endowments, and today we still see hospitals that fall under those categories (all of which are considered to be non-prophet).  I don’t have a problem with private doctors and hospitals, but for those who don’t have health insurance for what ever reason, can still get health care from these state and county run facilities that we still have today. The only thing I would say is that if they can afford health insurance based on their income, but don’t have it, they should get charged for the care or be given the option to not be treated.

“7. Hold insurance companies accountable for honoring their insurance policy. If the insurance company has been caught not honoring their policy 100 (or a percentage) times, place a big fine on them and put that money back into Medicare.”

I’ve never had this problem, but I guess a lot of people do? It seems like it would be a breach of contract if they didn’t honor their end of the policy, which is already illegal. Do we really need more laws in the area, or better enforcement?

“8. Do not tax health benefits that an employer provide for their employees.”

I agree, No New Taxes… didn’t Obama say that already??? or did I misunderstand…

“9. For a family that makes below X amount, give them a credit on their income tax of X amount for them to purchase health insurance in a co-op program. I don’t think giving a person money to purchase health insurance is a good idea, because it does not guarentee that the individual will use that money to purchase health insurance.. example. 1 in 4 motorist in Texas does not have car insurance.”

How about we just overhaul the income tax code. Simplify it. Give everyone a bigger standard deduction, put everyone into the same tax bracket or tax them at the same percentage (anything more is arguably unconstitutional due to Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 that says “. . .all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States”), and a few basic other deductions for things that truly require someone to need to keep more of their own money to pay for basic bills and necessities (like have kids/dependents, or for rent or taxes on a primary residence so long as the residence isn’t excessive beyond the average home).

“10. Increase payment to doctors that take Medicare patients.”

I though this was the problem.. Health care is getting too expensive. If you ask me Medicare, and other government payouts for medical bills are half the problem as to why it’s getting more expensive. Do we really want the Federal Government having anything to do with setting prices; especially on Health Care, which is arguably one of the reasons heath care costs are going up.

“11. All hospitals require proof of citizenship before they can treat a patient.”

Personally I don’t think we want people dyeing in the streets for any reason. I’d rather see them get treated or at least stabilized to a point were they can be deported/transported to a hospital in their own country. Then send them the bill, or send the bill to their country. Not that it’ll get paid, but you never know. If they ever try to return, or even think about trying to get citizenship, make them pay their bill first. Of course for this to work, we’d have to improve our boarder security, and relax immigration laws.

“12. Pharmaceutical companies need to be held accountable.”

Sounds good, but do we have any good ideas on how this should be done, or were the real problems are to begin with? Personally I think a lot of drugs out there are unnecessary due to much simpler solutions your doctor probably doesn’t even know about, but I’m not a physician so don’t take my word for it. I do believe that a lot of our aliments could be avoided in the first place by taking care of our selves, but for those who choose not to, and want the drugs instead, who are we to judge?

“13. A pool for individuals with pre-existing conditions.”

If we change the way we pay for heath care or how we obtain our health insurance, as I’ve commented on already, this will no longer be an issue.  Besides, isn’t this what insurance is supposed to be anyway?  A Pool we all put money into, to be paid out of when problems arise?

“14. Have your doctor discuss with you and your family members about quality of life and your wishes. This should be up to each individual and not the gov’t to decide if you should live or not or what the gov’t will or will not pay for.”

We all die, sooner or later, it’s just a matter of when. (and no I don’t think death is the end of existence). I do think that it’s important to have health care available to a person if they chose to fight off a disease, but it should be the patients choice to decide if they want to go threw the treatment, especially if it has horrible side affects, or if they just want to treat the symptoms and make the best of what time they have left.

“15. Is health care an entitlement?”

No more then health Insurance is. It’s not up to the government to make sure we are all caring for one another. It’s up to us, and our local communities to do that. This has religious beliefs tangled in with it for me. Personally I do not believe that forcing charity on us threw taxes is really charity. True charity is done out of love for our fellow humans, not threw laws and governance.

If we want to make Health Care into an entitlement (just as it is with Medicare and Social Security today) then we need to be talking about a constitutional amendment, not a 1000+ page bill. In fact, I would say that Medicare and Social Security need the same thing, as I cannot find anywhere in the U.S. Constitution that authorized the Federal Government to administer such programs. According to the 9th and 10th Amendments, it becomes a State issue, not a Federal issue.

“16. Allow a person to take their health insurance policy to another state, or to another job.”

See comments to number 5.

“17. Fine a person if they don’t purchase a health insurance policy?”

Isn’t tens of thousands of dollars of debt, and interest charges on top of that, for not having insurance for an emergency room visit, a big enough fine? If someone doesn’t have insurance, or can’t pay for a life saving procedure, that’s unfortunate, but that doesn’t meant they have to be treated anyway. As I’ve already said, we all have to die sooner or latter anyway, right? That doesn’t mean we can’t help them be as conformable as possible until they are gone.

“18. Define what essential care is. There should be different age groups. Like anyone from 0 to 21 years old, 22 to 40 years old, 41 to 60 years old, 60 to 100 years old.”

This sounds like rationing to me. The only rationing I want to see is if the patient can pay for it or not (or someone can pay for it for them), and if they want it or not. It should be the patients choice, with their doctors advice, and what their choice of insurance coverage that decides what gets paid for or not, not their age, or some arbitrary definition of “essential care”.

If we really want to go down this road of the Federal Government guaranteeing “essential care” as an entitlement, then we need a Constitutional Amendment stating what essential care is, and how the Federal, State, and Local governments are to work together to provide it.

Personally, I’d say that State governments should provide essential health care services for things like emergency room visits, child birth, hospice care for those in the late stages of a disease that is believed to take their life, and possibly a couple other things. Preventative care, diagnosis, and other such things are not what I would consider essential, and nothing under this new amendment should be considered as compulsory nor should the quality of the care be guaranteed. If people want high quality care, or preventative care, they should expect to pay a premium for it.

“19. If an individual is 65 years old and is still working, don’t force them to drop their private health insurance policy to be on Medicare. Let the individual choose. John McCain said that if 3% of individuals that were on Medicare opt out of this policy, the gov’t could save a tremendous amount of money.”

Agreed… Personal choice and responsibility is the key to solving this mess, not relying more and more on the government. It’s called being self reliant, but those in Washington who are drunk with power, know that the more the people rely on the government, the more power they gain over the citizens of this country. It’s way past due time that we took back some of our own self reliance, and took away a great deal of the power of the Federal government.

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