Health Care in 2012
I have been involved in the health insurance industry for 30 years, or since I was 23 years old. During this time I have seen much, but one thing is consistent – the Federal Government has been getting more and more involved; and like President Ronald Reagan said: Government is the problem, not the solution!
Nationalized health care was first proposed in 1904; it was in the Progressive Party’s platform of 1912; it came back under FDR and Truman, then Johnson, then Clinton, and now Obama. The goal all along has had little to do with the quality of health care. The objective is rather to remove one-fifth of the economy from private control and bring it under the thumb of the state. The healthcare debate is the debate between Capitalism and Socialism in the U.S.A. today.
Medicare, the Federal Governments health insurance program started in 1965. From 1966 to 1980, hospital and doctor costs doubled every four years. Medicare now constitutes around 20% of our federal budget. 20% of the cost of Medicare and Medicaid is fraud. In the private healthcare system, it is 1%.
The Federal Government got heavily involved in regulating nursing homes with the Nursing Home Reform Act in the OBRA of 1987. Since this time, nursing home costs have risen 7% per year; more than double the rate of inflation. These heavy regulations have done minimum to improve the quality of care and have done much to increase the costs to all families.
Regarding major medical health insurance, there has been an incredible transformation of this market in the last 30 years. It didn’t used to be where the federal and state governments were real involved in designing and regulating our health coverage. Companies competed for our business by coming up with the most innovative and lowest priced coverage. There were many companies selling major medical coverage. Today there are so many mandates on these plans that there are only about five carriers in Nebraska one can buy coverage from.
My solution: Repeal Obamacare
Prevention – Prevention solutions to our health care crisis is a must. Some companies are now rewarding income to employees who can prove that they are taking steps to have a proper diet, exercise and get the proper amount of rest in their lives. Prevention could save our country from 30-35% on our health care costs. We must remove the obstacles the obstacles for people seeking holistic and nutritional alternatives to current medical care. These must not be mandated.
The pharmaceutical industry is against the prevention practice in America today. Many medical doctors are tired of these pharmaceutical companies prescribing cures for ailments via advertising. Patients demand these prescriptions against the doctor’s recommendation. We must remove the threat of further regulations pushed by the drug companies now working worldwide to limit doctors of medicine and other practitioners from preventative alternatives.
Tax Reform – The tax code, including the ERISA laws, must be changed to give everyone equal treatment by allowing a 100% tax credit for all medical expenses.
Keep the employer health insurance premium tax deduction for corporations and all businesses. Change the personal income tax exemption for employer paid health insurance premiums to a refundable tax credit. Refundable credits are those a person gets even if there is no tax owed. This can and should be done on a revenue neutral basis.
Benefit Mandate Reform – Mandates are laws that tell what insurance companies have to cover. The coverage for Senators and Congress do not have mandates! There is an average of 52 mandates per state on our health insurance coverage. States must not mandate that the services of special interest providers be covered in insurance plans. Mandates only serve to increase the demand for otherwise elective services. Laws dealing with bad outcomes and prohibiting doctors from entering into voluntary agreements with their patients must be repealed.
Tort Reform – Tort laws play a significant role in pushing costs higher, prompting unnecessary treatment and excessive testing. A large portion of the tests ordered every day are not for the patients, they are for the doctors; doctors are afraid of getting sued and getting their practice crushed. Patients deserve the compensation; not the attorneys.
Employee Choice – Create programs in the employer setting that allow multiple private plans and benefit structures to be offered within the same employer group. In this way, each certificate of insurance will be owned by the employee and be portable.
Health Savings Accounts – HSAs can reduce the cost of health insurance and out of pocket expenses while providing funds for health care expenses not covered by health insurance.
Telemedicine – Telemedicine can dramatically reduce the cost of and access to quality rural health care.
Medicaid – Rather than be increasingly dependent upon Medicaid, use some of those funds to create the refundable tax credit to pay for the private health insurance of modest wage earners. Medicaid will remain a necessary safety net, but will be required for far fewer people.
Encourage Competition – Restrain regulation to issues of fiduciary responsibility. If there is a subsidy to be given by the federal government, let it be at the choice of the individual what plan it subsidizes. Allow all types of plans to sink or swim on their own merit. The market will determine which plans most closely meet the needs and wants of the American public.
Government is the problem; not the solution!