First, the big mistake in this "forum" stuff IS THAT YOU DID NOT INCLUDE CONSUMERS.
Since I wasn't invited, here's some of my thoughts.
1. If you want to immediately reduce the impact of health care costs, reduce -- and then eliminate - the threshold for tax deductibility of medical expenses. Not everyone -- in fact very few -- Americans have access to pre-tax Medical Expense Accounts. Why should only SOME citizens have access to tax-free money for medical expenses?? Let us deduct ALL of our medical expenses from our income. Yes, that will have an income consequence for the Feds, but if the goal is TO HELP AMERICANS AFFORD HEALTH CARE, this is step one.
2. Pres. Obama IS WRONG. The government does NOT have to legislate the minimum standards for health insurance. The government simply needs to require full disclosure and let the consumer choose. The government decided to protect investors this way when they required companies to include in their proxy statements and annual reports a STANDARD FOR DISCLOSURE. Companies are required to compare their performance to comparable companies in terms of return on investments and disclosure of compensation, etc.
Same thing would help ME -- as a CONSUMER -- to choose MY insurance and how much I want to pay for it. Pick the 10 most common and/or 10 most expensive health conditions and make the insurance companies tell me whether they cover it FULLY. Make every insurance company tell me IN READABLE TYPE what the lifetime limit on the policy is. Tell me how much of my premium is used to cover administrative costs -- including executive compensation.
Yes, let me shop for insurance anywhere in the country, but give me a way to compare the coverage AND LET ME CHOOSE. That's the American way. I don't need no stinkin' "protection" from the Feds. If a company covers two days for childbirth and that is disclosed when I buy the policy, that's it. Let ME decide what I want, when I want it and how much I'm willing to pay for it.
Let me choose the coverage I want -- like well-care and preventative care -- and eliminate certain coverages I don't need. I do not need Obstetrics coverage and I don't want to pay for it. I get the idea that this is part of spreading the risk & spreading the cost... but then do something to LIMIT my exposure -- like meaningful tort/litigation reform.
There should be two types of coverage: HEALTH coverage for well care and routine care and the hospitalization and catastrophic coverage -- for surgeries and long-term treatments. Now we don't have a choice -- these are all rolled in... separate them and let me shop separately. Maybe I want to cover my own routine care and only want catastrophic coverage? Let ME choose.
3. The high risk pool for those with pre-existing conditions. Yes, it's abhorrent... but if you require each health insurer to assume a certain number of those policies -- as they require auto insurers to do for high risk drivers -- then everyone in the U.S. will assume a fair portion of that risk. That's fair to me. No one gets dropped and no one is denied insurance and everyone assumes some of the risk.
4. Community-based health care. No one is talking about that. Where I live, there are two LARGE community health clinics. People who cannot afford (or choose NOT to buy health insurance) can use the community health clinics. What you pay is based on what you can afford. Many people who have insurance also use the clinics. They are full service. They are principally funded by tax dollars but also by charitable contributions and donations of time from health care professionals and the community.
5. Fraud and waste. Exactly WHY does it take THIS health care proposal to address that?? If this is a problem, deal with it NOW. If you cannot agree on anything else, carve this out and JUST DO IT.
All of these should be separate pieces of legislation. If one works, great. If one doesn't, it gets dumped or tweaked.
If I hear one more person -- from the President to the Congresscritters tell me one more time that this is such a complicated issue -- implying that we are uninformed or too stupid to figure this stuff out -- I am going to shoot my television!!
So I watched the health care forum... mostly political theatre and posturing... but, Mr. President, besides the not-even-thinly-veiled threat that either the Republicans do it your way or you'll do it without them... if you are the President of ALL the people, why did you only ask the Republicans if they could compromise?? Isn't the very definition of compromise for BOTH sides to give & take?
Labels: congress, Freedom, Government