Part of the reason we are facing such a nightmare of a health care plan is that the architects in the White House and Congress have defined the need for a new and radical system based on assumptions that simply aren't true. The media has glossed over these assumptions. And Republicans and opponents to the President's plan have concentrated their fire on the plan itself, when they should be attacking the underlying assumptions.
Once the President set up the playing field to his advantage, he thought it would be easy to score the goals. Thankfully, opposition has risen to the plan and much of what Obama and Pelosi designed may never emerge. But, if we were playing on a level field, it is likely an entirely different solution would emerge.
I want to begin by stating clearly that we all share the same goal: Universal Health Care for everyone regardless of income, economic status and health conditions. This essay is not an effort to avoid the goal, but rather to make it much easier to achieve, at a lower cost, and with much less pain.
Three False Assumptions
Number ONE: The Current Health Care System is Broken
This is simply, totally wrong. The current health care system works beautifully. It provides the most choice, the finest doctors and greatest hospitals in the world. It develops 85% of all the new drugs in the world. People live longer and have a much better survival rate in the event of catastrophic illness.
Eighty Five percent of all Americans' get exactly the health care they desire. They have a huge smorgasbord of insurance options along with medical savings accounts and extraordinary cash payment options. Every major city has clinic open at virtually all hours and trauma and emergency rooms for crisis events.
And all this costs the government NOTHING!!! No taxes, no handouts, no rationing, no boards to oversee doctor and patient relationships.
The problem we face has nothing to do with the system being broken. It is that FIFTEEN PERCENT (15%) of Americans don't have easy or affordable access to the system. The system is absolutely wonderful. We simply need to get the last 15% in the doors!
Number TWO: The Current Health Care System is Bankrupting the Country
Again, this assumption is pure rubbish. The health care options currently used by the vast majority of Americans costs the government NOTHING. The part of our system that works is, in reality, cost neutral.
What doesn't work, at all, is the part that our government mismanages to the point of absurdity: medicare, medicaid and the Veteran's Administration Health System. Medicare is totally out of control, so badly run that is it bleeding both financially and physically. Many doctors and hospitals refuse to take Medicare patients because the government allowances don't begin to cover actual costs.
Meanwhile, because of pathetic oversight and ill defined guidelines, other doctors over order tests and procedures. There is little quality and virtually no oversight. Most seniors have to purchase Medicare Supplement Insurance to get back to the level of excellence enjoyed by younger Americans.
The problem is government run health care. It is not an insurance problem, it is not a health care system problem. It is the same problem that plagues virtually all government run systems in this country, a large, ill trained, poorly supervised bureaucracy.
To keep the country from going into bankruptcy, we must fix or scrap the current Medicare System, not enlarge it to include the entire nation.
Number THREE: The Current Health Care System Can't Cover All Americans
I beginning to wonder where all this bullsh*t comes from. Actually, the current system can easily absorb all Americans and the Insurance Companies have already stepped up to the table and agreed to cover everyone. The three big players, Insurance, Doctors and Pharmaceutical Companies are all on board.
There are thorny issues that require new laws and government oversight. But every key factor to achieve Universal Care has already been agreed upon. Insurance must be transportable form state to state and company to company. The Insurance Companies agree and are actually excited about this change as it will increase their potential customer base.
Premium pools must be greatly enlarged and then all people must be insured regardless of prior conditions. Once again, insurance companies are already on board. But there is one more step.
All people must be required, by law, to obtain insurance. And all companies must be required by law to provide insurance plans. Adding the young people who purposefully avoid purchasing insurance will enlarge the premium pools and provide some coverage for the critically ill. There will be costs here, but these are small compared to government run plan projections. And frankly there are some easy ways to reduce costs.
Health insurance should operate just like automobile insurance, with dozens of providers and competition based on coverage and premiums. It can be done and insurance companies are ready to do it.
That leaves one issue, covering the poor who simply cannot afford insurance. This will cost all taxpayers money. It can be done through a voucher system with premiums based on a a sliding scale by income level.
SUMMARY: The Current Health Care System Can Work Wonderfully
I haven't the time right now to go into the amazing cost reductions now available to everyone. MRI's and CAT Scans are available now for a fraction of their costs just two years ago. Doctor's visits are available now for $15.00 to $30.00 to people WITHOUT insurance. And, if we don't screw up the system, prices will begin to drop for everyone. Competition is the solution, it is not the problem.
What is wrong with the entire debate in Washington today, is that we are determined to break the huge part of modern health care that isn't broken without even attempting to fix the small government run parts that are draining our national wealth.