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"The status quo is not acceptable....What is really scary, what is really risky, is to do nothing." - President Obama, talking about health care reform.
President Obama and the Democrats are pretending America's choices on health care reform are either - A) Pass ObamaCare, or B) Stick With The Status Quo.
To us another Obama catchphrase, the President is presenting us with a "false choice." In a year of debate on the issue of health care reform, I haven't heard one person in Congress say we should stick with the status quo and do nothing. That is not the debate. The debate is over what is the best way to reform health care in this country to lessen costs and provide access to health insurance for every American who wants it.
Obama and company believe massive government intrusion, forcing all Americans to buy health insurance, massive tax increases, and kicking massive subsidies back to the insurance companies for tens of millions of Americans is the way to go. Obama, like so many liberals, believes having the government intrude more between the doctor and patient, along with insurance companies intruding between doctor and patient, along with the legal tort system intruding between doctor and patient, along with your employer intruding between the doctor and patient, is somehow going to result in a better, more cost-effective health care system. I simply don't get it.
I believe just the opposite is true. I believe the more middlemen there are between the doctor and patient, the more the individual is relieved of all responsibility for his/her own health care costs and choices, the more out of control our health care system will become.
With the President set to release his latest health care plan today, I'd like to present some different solutions, that might at first seem radical to some when compared to the status quo, but they aren't radical. They're just different than Obama's big government takeover plans. I'm going to accept the goal of insuring every American citizen, and this alternative plan will do that. I call this the Returning Your Health Care To You plan. Because this is only one short post, I'll only cover the major points broadly. I don't have time to produce a 2,400 page document (nor would I want to, and it isn't necessary to reform health care).
1) Make health insurance premiums tax deductible, up to $4,000 annually per individual or $8,000 per family. This would be in the form of a refundable tax credit, and would adjust for health care inflation/deflation.
This would apply to all Americans, whether they were working or not. For non-working Americans, this would serve as a subsidy, but it would go to the individual, not to the insurance company, as would happen with ObamaCare. The deduction must be used to purchase health insurance, or you won't get it. This measure wouldn't force anyone to buy insurance, but it would strongly incentivize them to do so. This should solve the problem of so many Americans being uninsured, and it will serve as a defacto wage increase for every American.
2. Employers will no longer be responsible for health insurance for workers.
Because step #1 puts the burden of health insurance back where it belongs, on the individual or the family, there is no reason for employers to insure workers. This has great benefits. Employers will no longer be burdened with the growing health care costs that keep them from being competitive in the marketplace. They will be able to hire more workers, LOTS more workers. This will fix the unemployment problem, which in turn will generate more tax revenue for the government. Secondly, it solves the existing problem we have with unemployed workers not having access to insurance, because insurance now follows the individual instead of the job. You won't lose your health insurance just because you lose your job. With employers relieved of paying for health insurance costs, worker take-home pay will increase again.
3. Eliminate health insurance "pools."
It is discriminatory for some people to be able to pool together and receive a lower group insurance rate while others are unable to do so, and are forced into paying higher rates. The "pool" of the insurance companies will be all it's customers, and all customers will pay the same insurance rate for the same level of coverage. With all customers paying the same rate, the insurance company will be incentivized to see that it's more unhealthy customers, the ones with the highest risk factors, seek preventative health care measures which will result in overall lower payouts for the insurance companies. Absent "pooling," insurance companies will also be incentivized to offer their lowest possible price to everyone, lest they lose business.
4. Tort reform with lawsuit caps.
To lower health care costs and defensive medicine costs. I've covered this before, so I won't go into detail here.
5. Nationwide insurance competition.
To lower costs. This shouln't even be debatable. We don't tell Walmart it can't operate in Oklahoma, and we don't tell Applebee's it can't operate in Ohio. This is a free country. In order to do this, we probably will need some minimum insurance guidelines to come from the feds. The feds will NOT, however, mandate what will and will not be covered under an insurance policy, with two exceptions - people cannot be denied for pre-existing conditions and people cannot be canceled if they run up high medical costs. Insurance companies will not be allowed to deny any U.S. citizen coverage.
6. More choices of insurance coverage, not less.
The current ObamaCare boondoggle would tell insurers what they must cover. This is the wrong path. Insurers will cover anything, but we need a variety of types of coverage instead of a one-size-fits-all model. For example, some people might prefer catastrophic-only coverage with high deductibles and pay for all their routine medical care themselves (I'm one of these). Others may want everything and anything covered. There may be several levels in between. There should be a variety of choices available instead of the government dictating coverage.
7. End Medicare.
If you didn't notice, since everybody is going to get a health care tax credit, we don't need Medicare anymore, because seniors will get the tax credit too, and they will be paying the same insurance rates that a healthy 25-year-old would pay. I just solved the long-term unfunded liability problem that threatens to bankrupt the country.
How much will my health care plan cost ? Well, I'm not the CBO, and I've only worked on this for a couple hours this morning, but I guess-timate that the tax credits will cost roughly $1 trillion ($4,000 x 250 million adults in the U.S.) if everybody signed up. That's a lot of money, but by eliminating existing government health care plans, I estimate we'd save about $600 billion of that, leaving about $400 billion to raise via reducing federal spending or raising taxes. Because raising taxes is counterproductive, especially in this struggling economy, I'd suggest the federal government reduce spending by $400 billion. If this sounds impossible or radical, consider that Barack Obama RAISED federal spending by far more than that in his first year in office, and wants to raise it a lot more to pass ObamaCare. We could reduce federal spending by $400 billion just by eliminating Obama's spending increases SO FAR.
Obama's plan is what sounds radical to me. My two-hour effort today addresses unemployment, addresses the unsustainable long-term unfunded entitlement liability problem, reduces the size of government, stimulates the economy, makes our businesses more competitive, doesn't raise taxes, provides health insurance for any American who wants it, creates jobs, and increases worker wages. Does Obama's disaster of a plan do ANY of that ? Nope. What Obama's plan does is vastly increase the size of our already unsustainable federal government and adds to our collective tax burden, which makes everyone POORER over the long run.
Obama and the Democrats are just wrong. They don't get it. Obama's so-called "change" is just more of the same thing that has gotten America into the fiscal problems we face today. We HAVE to defeat ObamaCare. There is a better way, and the majority of Americans know it.