Today we’re going to divert from our usual anti-incumbent pro-voter driven term limit theme and discuss health care. There seems to be a disconnect between the polls and the politicians. Nothing new here…the politicians are doing what they want to do. Of course, we use this as a reason to vote them out. It’s not the only reason, but one of the more important ones.
Today, we’re proposing a health care reform plan. Some of these ideas are not originally mine (in fact, most aren’t). It’s not written in “lawyer”, so all of us can understand it. It’s provisions are mostly constitutional (where they’re not, they’re at least in the spirit of the Constitution). We’re calling this Patrick’s Plan for Health Care Reform. We would encourage you to send this to your representatives both in the House and Senate. Let them know their reelection depends upon how they vote on any upcoming legislation.
Patrick’s Plan for Health Care Reform
- Abolish state insurance walls. The Constitution provides for the regulation of inter-state commerce. States have all set up walls that prevent companies from selling policies across state lines. Allowing companies to sell their policies across the country will increase competition and lower costs.
- Individual Health Insurance/Expense Deductions. Remove the insurance deduction from the business and move it to the individual. In principle, there would be no cap on the amount, but politically, it may be necessary to cap it at some arbitrary amount (the average price for a family of four, indexed to inflation, for example).
- Policy Availablity. Any insurance policy offered by an insurance company must be offered equally to all who qualify. Businesses and individuals would all pay the same amount for the same coverage. Essentially, everyone in the same risk pool would pay the same, regardless of how they buy it.
- Tort Reform.
- Loser pays the legal bills.
- “Pain and Suffering” damages would be capped.
- Total damages capped.
- Pre-Existing Conditions. Switching insurance companies will not trigger pre-existing condition clauses.
- Health Savings Accounts. Health savings accounts are tied to high deductible, low-cost insurance policies. Individuals deposit money, tax free, into their health savings accounts to use for their regular health related expenses. Many of these expenses apply to the insurance deductible. Once the deductible is met, the insurance company picks up the remaining medical expenses. Excess money in the account remains in the account each year and can be invested, saved, etc. This money remains tax free if used for health related expenses for life.
- Reduce the legal and regulatory barriers to creating health savings accounts.
- Provide tax incentives for people to have health savings accounts.
- Transition Medicaid and Medicare to function like health savings accounts.
- Increase the health items covered by HSA costs.
- Provide insurance companies tax incentives to create and manage health savings accounts.
- Excess health savings account funds may be rolled over into long term and retirement savings accounts.
- Low-Income Individuals and Families. Create a system that functions like health savings accounts. Individuals and families below set income levels would have government funded health savings accounts. Half the money left in the account at the end of the year would be transferred to a long-term care account for that individual, the other half would remain. Individuals would have a set amount to use each year for regular health care service just like those with regular HSAs.
- Doctor/Nurse/Provider Shortage. Provide tax incentives to those doctors who specialize in fields with severe shortages or who practice in under served areas.
- Prescription Drugs. Reduce patent periods for drugs by 50%. Foreign governments are required to pay the price same for drugs as American citizens. American’s must stop subsidizing the world’s drug costs. Drugs may also not be sold to different groups at different prices. Individuals would pay the same as insurance companies and the government for the same drugs.
- Cost Transparency. Health care service providers would be required to post (online) prices for products and services.
- Cost Fairness. Insurance companies and the government are not allowed to set the price for goods and services. Companies, individuals and governments all are offered the same services for the same price. Of course, service providers may give their services away or reduce their prices for individuals and families as they see fit, but the government may not mandate it.
- Uninsured (including illegal alien residents). Life saving health care must be provided, but they may still be billed for services. Triage nurses/doctors would evaluate those coming in. If they don’t have the means to pay, they would be referred to community resources. It will be up to the local communities to decide how to resolve these issues. US citizens would qualify for the low-income health savings accounts. Non-citizens could also apply and their native country would be billed the cost.
Those are our dozen points for health care reform. Or, better named, health care cost reform. Do these 12 things and our health care costs will be contained.