Tuesday, June 23, 2009

And Health Care For All !!!

This mad rush by the Obama administration to jam through a "government option" health care insurance plan is unsettling. Scary actually. Just like the stimulus plan bill that spends nearly $800 billion and was unread by nearly all of the legislature who voted on it because of the "need for speed," the Obama health care proposal is all about the details - details no one will understand until it's too late.

Obama claims we can keep the plan we currently have if we like it. He lies...

Does he take us all for fools? Business owners will weigh their options with dollar signs in mind. Deciding between purchasing a private plan that their employees pay for via wages, or switching to a public plan that the employees pay for through taxes is a no brainer. Any way you slice it the taxpayer funded plan is cheaper for the employer. So they dump their private plan and let the employees fend for themselves. Just watch your tax bill go way up and the coverage level go way down - it's inevitable. So in the end Mr. Obama, we don't decide to keep our current plan or not our employer does - your plan is designed to make his decision easy.

The Obama stimulus plan was neither stimulus nor a plan. This health care "plan", if nothing else, is a plan to destroy the current health insurance paradigm to be replaced by a government run insurance paradigm. Nothing good will come of it if allowed to pass. The current health insurance paradigm needs to be destroyed - or rather the government's artificial constraints need to disappear.

Still Obama claims he is not creating a nationalized health care system. He lies...

What should happen? What will fix the access problem without wrecking all that is good about America's medical industry? Well, a government controlled system is not the answer, it's just not. What then?

What the government needs to do is first address the portability problem with something more reasonable than Cobra. Cobra is not an economically viable solution for those who have just lost their jobs. In fact its rather cruel.

1.) Reform the rules to allow insurance companies to work across state lines. This is the first and possibly the most effective thing Obama can do to address the health insurance access issue, like the auto insurance companies do for car owners. If Obama wants competition as he says (which of course he doesn't) then allow, for example, insurance companies in the north or the east to compete for southern and western customers. Prices will go down.

2.) Allow tax deductions for individuals for health care premium costs and out of pocket expenses. Insurance companies will line up to offer them a plan.

3.) Allow ala carte insurance offerings. Allow young people and job seekers to buy basic " hit by a truck plan or brain tumor" plans. Why should healthy young men need coverage for pregnancy or Alzheimers?

4.) Allow tax deferrals for Medical Savings Accounts plans supported by corporate benefits. MSA's build a balance that can be used to carry over insurance while a person looks for a new job. When corporations can (gladly) get out of the health care management business and just provide a line item benefit on the payroll check (direct deposited into the employee's MSA account) then individuals will buy their own plans - then you will see real competition!

These are practical steps that can be taken that will build on the system we have without introducing the inefficiencies and incompetence of government. We have prime examples of what the government can do with health care - we already have Medicare and the Veterans Administration to name just two - is this what we want for all of us?