Posts Tagged ‘public option’

Against public option?

I just got asked yesterday on Twitter why I am against the so-called “public option” in the so-called “health care reform” proposals now pending in Congress.

Actually, I’m not against a “public option” — we already have one, and it’s called Medicaid — a program that ensures that the poorest and least insurable among us are covered in the health care system.

Seems to me that there are four simple things we can do to improve health care in this country:

1. Tort reform — limit punitive damages, and require arbitration before awarding people like John Edwards tens of millions of dollars paid by doctors and hospitals for malpractice insurance. The money freed up could easily amount to billions in savings to the current system, making insurance and services more affordable.

2. Create “assigned risk” pools, not unlike how car insurance works, to handle people with pre-existing conditions. We could even throw some money at subsidizing the programs, set up on the state level.

3. To cover those not already covered by Medicaid (some studies report that quite a few people who are currently “uninsured” don’t even realize that they qualify for Medicaid), up the income eligibility levels to allow more people who can’t afford private insurance to be covered. At the same time, expand Medicaid to cover wellness issues such as regular checkups, health education, smoking cessation and substance abuse treatment.

4. Once we’ve done the above, require everyone to have a basic basket of health insurance. This would spread the costs over those people who have “chosen” not to have health insurance because they are perhaps young and healthy, but could afford health insurance. We require all drivers to have liability insurance; we should do the same with health care, since more and more it’s being deemed an essential “right” (although I hate using that word), and at the very least is not refused to anyone at the emergency room. Free riders who are able to help pay should do just that.

Next, let’s see how we can make Medicaid and Medicare more efficient and effective before spreading these systems over the whole thing. Let’s keep the government from competing via subsidies to the “public option” against a system that 80% of it’s customers are happy with. Once we’ve accomplished the above four items, and we wait a couple years, we can guage the results and see what else we should do.

Creating a gigantic government bureaucracy to solve a problem that is only a problem for a minority of the populace, when it could be helped greatly by a combination of tweaking the way we do things and subsidizing our most needful citizens, makes a lot more sense to me than blowing up what we have and moving to the so-called “public option.”

Thoughts?

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