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Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, aired on RainbowRadio from 2015-2017.
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Saturday, September 12, 2009
Some Strengths & Benefits of my health care plan
A big way that the cost of any given procedure will be result from the hospital KNOWING that when they treat someone, they WILL get paid. So they won't have to bake-in extra costs assuming a certain percent loss, based on a bunch of patients NOT paying. (Why do YOU think it costs $10 dollars to get an aspirin in the hospital?) Also, the Hospital won't get low-balled anymore for medicaid patients. Since EVERYONE will be in the same plan, the hospital will get paid the same for any given petient they take. Again, this reduces the unreimbursed costs that they currently pass onto everyone else. (And why should it matter WHO the hospital is treating? From their perspective, does a triple bypass cost less to give a poor person than a rich person? They should get paid for the SERVICE not the PATIENT!)
Another way costs are lowered is by providing people with incentives (or at worst removing the disincentives) to make the kinds of decisions that benefit the system, namely: GET TREATMENT EARLY! For example: Right now, if someone gets an earache, and they don't have insurance, they don't go to the doctor; not today, not tomorrow not next week, even when the pain gets worse. A month later, after the infection has spread, they show up in the ER; unconscious and on death's door with 105 degree fever. After spending the night in the ER, they're moved to the ICU. Then they're there for a week, getting exotic, aggressive anti-biotics intravenously, after which they either DIE (and likely don't pay) or LIVE, but declare bankrupcy because they can't pay. Ten's, maybe Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of unreimbursed costs (and possibly a patient death) now get s passed onto everyone else over something that could have been solved with a single course of simple $10 anti-biotics if it had been treated early.
Because, with health care, sometimes giving MORE in the right place at the right time cost a LOT LESS. This also frees up the ER, ICU and Specialized resources that would otherwise be consumed, thus lowering the cost for THOSE resources. (See? My plan just keeps WORKING!)
Getting people to go to their primary care providers at the first sign of trouble lowers the overall cost of treating any given condition AND improves the likelyhood of a positive outcome. Putting of treatment for lack of coverage ALWAYS costs more, can only INCREASE to chance of a negative outcome, thus leading to more costs being passed onto to those who CAN and DO pay. This is also the answer to the concern (of many Conservatives) that the RICH will SUBSIDIZE the POOR. Well... they may, but no more than they already are, for the very reason I've just laid out. The thing is, under my plan, they'll do a LOT LESS of this. The theory here is NOT to have the RICH subsidize the POOR, but rather to have the HEALTHY subsidize the SICK.
This is the one part of our current system that actually works very well, and it works better the more people you have in a given risk pool. So how about... ALL OF AMERICA?! That should make the cost per person as low as possible.
Question: SO... who pays more and who pays less?
An individual who currently buys insurance, though an employer's benefit program, will pay almost the same as he does now, but get better coverage. Someone who buys insurance ON THEIR OWN will pay a LOT less.
Someone with NO INSURANCE? Yeah, they'll pay more... But they'll get coverage. Let's say your in this group and making OVER median income (about $50,ooo for an individual) but you work for a small company and they don't offer health care. What you'd pay in increased taxes is roughly what your share of the premium would be if your employer DID offer health insurance. If you make LESS than median income, we can cut you some slack. Since you're probably paying NOTHING now (and we're subsidizing you anyway, as I've explained above) ANYTHING would be better than NOTHING. So you'll pay some greatly reduced amount. Below the poverty line? (for example) You'll pay nothing, just as you do today, but you'll get better coverage than medicaid currently offers.
You might ask: Why shouldn't healthy people be allowed to opt out if they choose?
Simple: It doesn't work. First of all: How do you how long you;ll be 'healthy'? Young people all think they'll live forever and we (adults) all know that just ain't true. And besides: a lot of 'healthy' exercise. Which means they can be still be INJURED. So what if they're not sick? If they blow out their knee or rupture a tendon, their will still be COSTS, and that will be more than they can afford. And if they don't pay, THE REST OF US END UP PAYING! So no: EVERYONE puts in who can. Period. It compulsory. Same goes for the whole lower premium / higher deductible argument. It doesn't work our form most in the long run, and if you can't pay the difference, WE end up paying. NO. EVERYONE puts in. DONE. That's the only way it works for EVERYONE.
What about those small companies that can't afford insurance?
Well, if they make a PROFIT, they can always afford a 2% or 3% tax increase. If you make a dollar, after all your employees and other costs are paid, you can afford 3 cents. If you make $100 you can afford $3 and if you make a $Million you can afford $30,000. You see? If you small and don't make enough to afford the HUGE FIXED cost of health insurance, you'll pay a much smaller amount. And if you do make scads of money, then you have no excuse. And below a certain amount (and amount that most all small companies will never meet) you'll still be paying less. But employers pick up about 80% of the tab now, and they'll need to continue to do so. But if it's a TAX, they'll get a break exactly when they need it. (Unlike with private companies who'll want to be paid whether you made a profit or not!)
The other benefit is that the cost of retaining an employee is less, so companies can afford to hire more people, since their health care tab will be a function of the money (profit now, not revenue) they make rather than the number of employees they have. This will increase the number of decent paying jobs, and thus also increase the number of people paying into the system!
SO IT'S SUSTAINABLE! The more you look at it the more you realize that all the right incentives are there!
In my next post I will take on some of the more controversial questions about my Health Care Plan.