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10 Simple Steps to Health Care Reform

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How can you argue about a reform plan when you don’t even know what will be in it? And yet, town halls go on and on through the hot and lazy last days of summer.

So, as my father used to say, if you want something to cry about, I’ll give you something (raised hand above my shrinking frame). Here are ten simple things we can do to reform health care.

1. Make health insurance mandatory, but make coverage compulsory for insurers. The insurers can’t survive if they don’t have the healthy people on their rolls as well as the sick, and the healthy young people often opt out. (As it is, the rise of DNA testing is going to change the insurance industry as people use their DNA test results to decide whether or not to buy insurance and what kind to buy. In the future, without mandatory health insurance the system will collapse.)

2. Make everyone pay something – employers, employees, and the unemployed, but make the premiums reflect true costs. Medical care is expensive. Subsidize those who truly can’t pay. Become transparent about the costs of medical care.
3. Regulate insurance companies like utilities, and do it nationally. Allow buyers to buy across state lines.
4. Negotiate with drug companies nationally.
5. Put a limit on jury awards and on legal fees in medical cases.
6. Go back to the days of banning law firm and drug company advertising. We have created an artificial demand for drugs that treat overactive bladder and restless leg syndrome by re-defining annoyances as sicknesses and creating pills for them at great expense.
7. Make computerization of medical records mandatory within a few years, and subsidize (i.e., tax credits) record conversion to get it done. Introduce uniform applications, medical records, and claims forms nationally, preferably open source.
8. Increase the number of doctors and nurses by providing subsidies and tax benefits to both students and medical educational institutions. Provide some form of loan forgiveness for primary care doctors, pediatricians and geriatricians. Not every doctor visit should be to a specialist.
9. Put everyone under the same system.

Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

"Well - 5 star insurance benefits only to those that can pay for it?"

Well - yes. The rich people get better food, time for exercise, even personal trainers. I would say those things are even more critical to health than health insurance, wouldn't you? They also are less stressed financially - which is good for your health.

Are you going to mandate that everyone have everything equal? Then who is going to pay for that?

Some of the ideas in the article above are quite good but the key principle we need to follow is that if the patients pay, they realize the cost, they will make better decisions and more competition will enable lower costs. The costs of cosmetic surgery have come down significantly over the last 20 years - why? Because people pay for it and doctors have figured out how to make more money by servicing a larger market who can't afford previous prices. Go to a walmart, cvs, or walgreen's clinic and see how cheaply you can many issues dealt with.

Government regulation has skewed the market and reforming the regulation is important - e.g. competition across state lines.

The last thing I would say is that health insurance should stay with the individual and not the employer. A large number of uninsured are in that state because they are temporarily unemployed.

September 3, 2009 - 9:20am
EmpowHER Guest

Have you tried living in another country where there is socialized healthcare? Maybe you should and you will find yourself kissing the ground as you land back here in the US. Please do more research on both sides of the spectrum before writing articles usind one-sided media and theories of what LOOKs like the best answer.

September 2, 2009 - 11:45am
EmpowHER Guest

Well - 5 star insurance benefits only to those that can pay for it? So, really that would put us right back where we are now, but that the poor MUST pay for insurance or they have the IRS on their backs? This sounds like an insurance executive's statement. What insurance exec wouldnt want to make sure buying insurance for EVERY american wasn't mandatory?

This is not in the best interest of the MANY in this country. There MUST be an alternative to ensuring ALL people receive the SAME health care! Think about people who are barely making ends meet on unemployment - or perhaps not making ends meet and losing their homes. But they still have to pay for health insurance.. Hmm - do we eat this week or buy health insurance? Yes folks there are people in this country who are going without the basic necessities. But we expect them to buy health insurance. Of course if they dont eat, they get sick, ending up in the hospital where they get 3 square meals a day. Hmmmm.

September 2, 2009 - 10:44am
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