Thursday, August 13, 2009

TRUE health care reform

Instead of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, as has been proposed by the Obamatons, and the government taking over a full 1/7th (or perhaps larger portion by now) of our economy, we should approach this problem from a different standpoint.

No one is arguing that there aren't some issues with our current system, as no system in the world is perfect.  However, the World Health Organization's (WHO) ranking of the American system as 32nd in the world is obviously bogus.  It also includes statistics such as who pays for the health care and whether the government pays for poor.  Obviously, anyone who has an axe to grind like WHO would do their best to make systems that don't run the way they think they should look badly.

But putting the collectivist, socialist idiots aside, here are some ways that John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Inc, a company where 89% of their employees are covered by their health care plan, has proposed to help fix the current system:

  • Equalize the tax laws so that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. Now employer health insurance benefits are fully tax deductible, but individual health insurance is not. This is unfair.
  •  Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines. We should all have the legal right to purchase health insurance from any insurance company in any state and we should be able use that insurance wherever we live. Health insurance should be portable.
  •  Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates have increased the cost of health insurance by billions of dollars. What is insured and what is not insured should be determined by individual customer preferences and not through special-interest lobbying.
  • Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. These costs are passed back to us through much higher prices for health care.
  •  Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost. How many people know the total cost of their last doctor's visit and how that total breaks down? What other goods or services do we buy without knowing how much they will cost us?
  •  Enact Medicare reform. We need to face up to the actuarial fact that Medicare is heading towards bankruptcy and enact reforms that create greater patient empowerment, choice and responsibility.
  • Finally, revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren't covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program. 
Rather than completely throwing away the good with the bad of the current system, these changes would be much simpler to implement and much more acceptable to a large majority of the people.  Why not try incremental fixes instead of a full-on government take-over?

And please someone try to tell me that the government isn't trying to take over the health-care system.  Make sure you share whatever drugs you're taking before you do so, since I'll need to be as mind-altered as you are to believe it.

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