I’m taking a break from my ongoing series, “Why Liberals Think as They Do” to talk about the hottest topic in America today: Healthcare. More specifically, I have an alternative to Obamacare that I’d like to present for comments and suggestions. This is an idea that I’ve been kicking around and believe it to be a REAL alternative to Government run Healthcare – one that would actually work, be Constitutional, AND foster self reliance.
Here’s the basic plan:
— Every citizen over the age of 21 – those not deemed to be mentally impaired or compromised – would at some point certain in the near future (let’s say a decade from now) be required to pay the FULL PRICE for ALL health services rendered UNLESS they have secured “some” sort of health insurance policy. The result of this eventual fact would be to create an incentive SO strong for individuals to NOT be saddled with those kinds of onerous health care costs that almost NO individual would go without a policy. The result: personal responsibility. Those individuals who DID go without some kind of policy would have to have a VERY good excuse indeed.
— If every citizen understood this arrangement and participated (and who wouldn’t?) this would add approximately 30 million NEW clients to the insurance system rolls – all paying premiums at one level or another.
— The Federal Government would mandate that a certain percentage of every health insurance provider’s clientele come from people of lower economic means: Obviously, a difficult piece of legislation to enact, but one that could be workable.
— States would allow easier access to insurance companies, increasing the amount of competition, thereby lowering costs.
— By billing individuals the ACTUAL market rates for services rendered, health care costs would decrease (not immediately, but over time) and individuals would have a MUCH better idea as to where the money goes when they are sick or need care, and this would create a MUCH more informed citizenry.
— As a result of this plan, pre-existing conditions would be a moot point, due to the fact that EVERYONE would be covered by some sort of private plan – from natural birth to natural death.
— This plan would take somewhere in the range of 10 years to implement, because educating citizens (starting in Grammar school) about individual responsibility will take that long to have the proper amount of impact.
— Of course, transitioning to this new system will take a great deal of effort, and the system will have to struggle along as it has for that period.
That’s the basic outline. I know the most difficult part will be writing legislation to mandate the Insurance companies to do X,Y and Z, but I think it could be done.
Now that the plan has been laid out, let me clarify some points.
With THIS plan everyone visiting a hospital or doctor’s office for care would get a bill, FOR THE ACTUAL MARKET – AMOUNT COST OF THE SERVICES provided. They would then submit that bill to their insurance company, (or pay to have it all done automatically) who would then pay the provider. In this way, the government wouldn’t be forcing anyone to purchase anything (un-Constitutionally). One of the benefits to this plan is that people would begin to understand the ACTUAL COSTS of medical procedures and would therefore shop around for better deals. Emergency and catastrophic events would still be covered as they are now.
Just as a bank or mortgage company might rigorously and thoroughly determine an individual’s ability to purchase a home, insurance premiums could be determined in a similar way. People with large incomes would pay closer to market rates for routine services, and low-income people would pay much less.
Also, insurance companies would be required by law to take clients with pre-existing conditions, since there would eventually be no such thing as a person who has never BEEN insured, or didn’t think it was important to be insured. No one, and I mean NO ONE, would NOT want to have insurance in a situation like that. Lapses and other anomalies would be taken care of in the courts, just like lapses in judgment are now.
Deductibles? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.
Of course, the devil is always in the details, and that’s one reason it would take 10 years to implement. Meanwhile, people can continue to use the emergency room when they get the sniffles.
This is certainly a slim outline of an idea. I understand that. But it is an approach that I hear NO ONE talking about, probably because it would be quite revolutionary. Imagine actually knowing the price of something you’re buying.
Please let me know what you think.