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Monday, August 17th, 2009   8:15 am | Author: glenncheney | Health/Medical |
Tags: health care, healthcare, not-for-profit, socialism
This appeared in the Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin:
Toward a Better Health Care System
I’d like to suggest a health care system that’s less expensive and is accessible to all. It’s a system quite like the one we have now, based on health insurance but without the many disadvantages of depending on health insurance companies. It would eliminate existing socialized medicine.
This system would rest on a single, national, not-for-profit health insurance company. A payroll/income tax would replace insurance premiums. The tax would be dedicated exclusively to funding health care. Everyone with any income at all would contribute, and everyone, regardless of income or employment, would have a right to medical attention. People could choose their own doctors, as they do now.
This system would reduce the overall cost of health care in many ways. It would eliminate the profit margin currently included in insurance premiums. It would eliminate the cost of marketing, currently paid the same way. It would reduce the horrendous bureaucracy — a major cost — that doctors and hospitals face when dealing with scores of insurance companies. It would make it easier to audit for fraud, something that insurance companies can’t do. It would let people get medical attention early rather than depending on expensive emergency room care.
The national insurance company would be able to buy large volumes of medications at substantial discounts. If doctors or hospitals charge too much for certain tests or procedures, the insurance company could offer them.
Congress would need to establish a board of trustees to oversee this national insurance company. Seats on the board would be reserved for representatives of doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, taxpayers, and patients. The board would be outside of Congressional influence, and its funding would be as untouchable as that of any other not-for-profit organization.
Companies currently paying health care benefits could pay the payroll tax for their employees. Since this system would be less expensive, more companies would be willing to offer this benefit. Individuals who currently pay for their own insurance should be glad to pay a tax that’s lower than insurance premiums.
The only people who would pay more would be those who currently have no insurance. Since they would be able to afford payments based on income, they wouldn’t need to depend on government programs and charity. This would be more fair than the current system in which taxpayers and people with insurance indirectly pay for charity cases.
Note that this system would replace Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Administration, and other government (i.e. socialized) systems. We would be eliminating socialized medicine. This system would not contribute to the national deficit because it would not be not part of the federal budget.
This is essentially the same system we have now but with many disadvantages eliminated. Obviously it isn’t popular among insurance companies, but insurance companies can’t vote, can they?
Glenn Alan Cheney is the author of Thanksgiving: The Pilgrims’ First Year in America.