The real way to fix the health care system

In the current political landscape, it will be impossible to repair the current health care system.  As long as there are lobbyists pumping millions of dollars to our representatives and into the airwaves, there is nothing that can occur.  Same is true for many of our other broken systems.

And when there is no motivation for our representatives since we usually re-elect our representatives regardless of the support of their constituents the likelihood of any meaningful legislation is next to impossible. 

Why would our representatives look for better healthcare options for our districts when they receive hefty contributions from the lobbyists (which blows away any dollars they can generate from their constituents)?  Besides, most members of Congress get reelected based on name recognition so again, there is no motivation for Congress to do the ‘right thing.’

And worse yet, our government has far superior healthcare coverage than most Americans therefore they have no real understanding for what Americans face – no healthcare coverage, insufficient coverage, restrictions on pre-existing conditions and very expensive premiums.

It’s sad that while we’re in the emergency room, we have to provide proof of insurance before many hospitals will even look at us. 

One of the major causes of bankruptcy is catastrophic illness but unless someone is dealing directly with this, they don’t really seem to care.  

People who are young, rarely get sick and have no current need for maintenance medications have very little compassion for those who do.

These are the same people who believe it is every person for themselves.  How dare we assist those who are less fortunate? 

Watching the news one might be under the impression that the majority of Americans are against any sort of change in the way our health plans operate.  The media love to play the video of these congressional town halls across the country where the crowd just starts screaming and chanting in order to disrupt the proceedings.  Of course we now know that these protesters are being bused in by the opposition group, FreedomWorks, led by former Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey.

The fact is the majority of Americans are not satisfied with their health insurance coverage and are looking for a single-payer system similar to the ones found in every other industrialized country in the world. 

The 3 ways to fix healthcare

Single-payer system

As a health insurance carrier once used as a slogan – the best insurance plan is the one you don’t have to think about.  If so many other countries could provide their citizens with universal health care coverage, why can’t we? 

That’s because we hear that costs will go up / socialized medicine / a trillion dollars / etc. 

I don’t know about you (actually, I know about most of you), if you are employed, you pay high insurance premiums that come directly from your paycheck.  In most cases, your employer will match a portion of those dollars as they contribute to your insurance.

Don’t forget each time you go to the doctor you have to pay a co-pay, a percentage or a deductible. 

The fact is – I have to shell out thousands of dollars to my insurance company and my doctor or pharmacist even before my insurance coverage kicks in.  That’s right – THOUSANDS.   All my health insurance really does is protect me from a catastrophic illness. 

Because my plan sucks, I delay my annual physical to about 15 -18 months between visits. 

Then again, my plan is pretty good compared to many, many Americans.

But socialized medicine is a bad thing, right?  Just like our socialized education system or our socialized emergency services.

First of all, we have a fairly decent education system in this country.   It covers K through 12 and subsidizes state colleges and universities.  If you’re not happy with the educational system, you have the option of putting your child in a private school. 

Secondly, our police force is terrific.  (except for the occasional bad seed)  The police will protect and serve all Americans and visitors.  Now if you want extra security, you can live in a gated community, install a security system in your home or if you are well-off hire your own home security.

Why can’t they devise a system where we, as Americans, get universal health coverage but if I wish to have better coverage or coverage for elective procedures – I can pay extra? 

The one thing to remember here is that we all have money taken directly from our paychecks to pay our insurance premiums.  Why can’t this money go to fund the single-payer system?  Because the insurance companies will lose out on all of this cash flow.  It’s as simple as that.

Add to this, all of the out of pocket health care expenses we incur in a given year and it seems pretty logical that our annual expenses would actually be LESS in a single-payer system. 

Think about it this way for a moment.   How much money do the insurance and pharmaceutical companies shell out annually to lobbyists, PACs and their executives alone?  Think of how much in premiums they have to bring in just to pay for that.

When I hear proponents of reform state that our out of pocket costs would not go up, I have to believe them because with a single-payer system costs would immediately go down with the elimination of the PACs, lobbyists and the million dollar salaries and bonuses.  And don’t forget the premium deductions we already deal with.

Offer same healthcare coverage plans to all Americans that our Congressional representatives receive.

The people we elect to represent us are part of a fantastic health coverage plan that provides great coverage and little out of pocket expenses.  I know, because I used to have government coverage since my ex-wife worked for a state representative’s office and the health coverage was incredible. 

If they would expand the plan options to all Americans, we would become part of a large benefit group.  Open the competition to any insurance company that would like to participate giving Americans more options. 

We could have our premium deducted directly from our paychecks (like now) so we wouldn’t see a difference from how it operates today.

Since the group size would be for the entire country, competition would be fierce so prices would drop and coverage would improve.  Isn’t that what the Republicans say about the free enterprise system?

There must be a mandate to eliminate the restriction on preexisting conditions. 

The main obstacle is what to do for all Americans who are unemployed or who cannot afford these premiums.  All citizens should have coverage so questions regarding subsidization must be discussed.

This plan needs to provide good, worry-free coverage to all Americans and it will still allow the insurance companies to profit. 

This type of plan will also eliminate the excessive need for lobbyists and PACs so our politicians will not really like this option.  

Make our representatives deal with our healthcare plans / make them listen to calls from their constituents and assist in their health coverage issues.

Want to make someone empathize with the poor?  Make them poor for a month and see how they change after the 30 days.

Want our politicians to reform healthcare?  Eliminate health insurance on all our politicians and their aides. 

They may opt for change if they first walk a mile in our shoes.

First of all, their aides would quit since they would need jobs that would offer insurance.

Second, the members of Congress would have to seek companies that would provide them with insurance coverage.  In order to eliminate preferential coverage, the GAO would review their coverage.  One option is for Congress to be forced to seek coverage from the same co-opts that other Americans can use.

Of course, most members of Congress can afford whatever it takes to pay for these plans but if they were to get sick and have to experience what we average Americans must face, maybe they’d be in a position to want to reform healthcare. 

What if politicians actually had to listen to our health care concerns?  If someone encounters a denied claim from the insurance company (which happens quite frequently), they could contact their representative?  The elected politician was then required to step in and negotiate on the part of their constituent.  How quickly would our representatives realize that the current system is broken?  They would be overwhelmed with calls.  They would quickly understand that unless they reformed the industry, their volume of calls would never subside.

The bottom line is:  We need to reform health insurance coverage for all Americans.  We are actually in a great position to do so.  Every other industrialized country has universal healthcare coverage or socialized medicine so as we construct ours, we can see which ideas work, which ones don’t and look at ways to improve some. 

We already know that our current situation doesn’t work for many, many Americans.

Americans are but a small voice individually.  When combined together we can make a loud statement.   Just look at the groups being bused into the town halls and the disruption they are causing.

The big voice is on the part of the insurance and pharmaceutical companies and other political action groups who ‘convince’ our politicians to decide against our best interests. 

Then we listen to so-called news stations like Fox News and right-wing pundits like Rush Limbaugh who tells us that we are in the minority if we are in favor of reform and that reform is anti-American.

It’s no wonder that any positive reform in the country – including health care – face such an uphill battle that change rarely occurs.


2 responses to “The real way to fix the health care system

  1. They are talking about giving everyone a system like Congress has.. the Exchange or Public Option is more or less what they have.. Works for me..

  2. I heard that today. I don’t love that option, but it is much better than what I have now. I definitely see it as a compromise and a step closer to universal healthcare.