Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Healthcare Insurance Reform

Healthcare insurance reform can attract votes and free up capital

Healthcare insurance reform is happening. Republicans must assist in the creation of a new system of ideas. The way to achieve influence will be through the possession of new ideas and new solutions to current problems in the healthcare system. Republicans must have some ideas that depart from the practices of the past that are proven business failures.

Bipartisan discussions are necessary. Respecting others opinions within the party is necessary. Ideally, individuals who prevent voices from being heard should be relegated to observer status while others discuss these critical issues. Since this is not an ideal world, Republicans must have some good health care insurance reform ideas that will garner attention and votes in order to assist in the reform process. From a financial standpoint, considerable capital could be freed up to circulate in the economy, jobs would be created and the employed would have control of their insurance funds in the form of cash.

Call for position papers on health care insurance reform. This is not the only idea out there. Campaign contributors cannot control this reform process.

An analysis of the present healthcare insurance system reveals some basic facts:

Insurance concerns collect huge sums of cash from the populace
Insurance concerns pay out some of the cash for medical expenses
Insurance concerns invest large sums of cash
Some insurance concerns have required bailout cash from the Feds
The Feds offer medical insurance now

Malpractice insurance is expensive
Insurance takes a discount from stated medical rates
Insurance can pay less for a given procedure than is charged the cash customer
Fraud and inflation of costs have been problems in the present system
Mandatory insurance takes several forms: health, automotive, home…
Mandatory health insurance: offered through the employers who must pay for it or pay for a portion of it
Mandatory automotive liability insurance: passed by legislature
Mandatory car and home insurance at the insistence of lienholders
Insurance companies and medical personnel have agreed to slow down rising costs

Now back to ways to attract votes.

Business leaders may be glad to dislodge health insurance requirements from the workplace. Forcing businesses to provide health insurance is tying up huge sums of cash that could be circulating in the economy. Let me say that individual choice is the most sustainable way to have an insurance program. Business votes.

So say that business is relieved of the responsibility of providing health insurance providing the payment that had gone to the insurance company now goes into the worker’s pay as a raise. The worker will have the power to decide to buy insurance or to patronize low cost walk in clinics situated in neighborhoods. The government offers a low cost insurance for claims exceeding x amount, which would leave the patron with a substantial deductable to meet, but the low cost clinic format allows for affordable health care. Private insurance could operate just as now, except that employers will not be obligated to provide customers for them. Private insurers could compete in rates and coverage, just as now. Clinics could compete for customers as well.

The business benefit of this plan is that wages and salaries once again become a predictable expense instead of expenditures at the mercy of insurance companies who now promise to slow down the pace of cost increases. The establishment of low cost walk in clinics has already begun in many neighborhoods. This idea could be expanded to private enterprise and public health clinics through the government. People could purchase health care when needed or would rely on private insurance plans or opt for the low cost, high deductable health care program through the government. There would be choice on the part of individuals and businesses, which should drive the costs down in both insurance and health care.

The costs of malpractice insurance has become self defeating in that the cycle of inflation in health care costs is bolstered by these huge lawsuits. Perhaps legislation can be passed that enables patients to sign legal waivers or limits in lieu of paying exorbitant malpractice insurance rates. Some element of trust should remain between doctor and patient. Once again, the patient is not permitted to decide whether or not to buy malpractice insurance. Patients are forced to pay for it as expressed in the high service rates charged.

This is leading up to the idea of “personal insurance”. Individuals should be able to buy
insurance on themselves (and dependents) that covers various scenarios like accidents, malpractice, cancer and any other insurance they deem necessary. Patients insure themselves or not, as they choose. Doctors are free of insurance demands. Healthcare and insurance costs go down. People regain the right to choose. Government and private enterprise offer affordable routine health care.

Entering indigent care would be like bankruptcy and individuals who claim indigent status will be the subject of social services investigation and payment plans will be developed if warranted. The expense of indigent care will always be there and must be absorbed, just as it now. A forward looking taskforce to avoid increases in indigents must be developed. Claiming indigent status in order to claim free health care is not to be a frivolous step easily taken.

As far as automotive insurance goes, the legislature in Arizona requires it of all motorists. I suggest that free choice be such that an individual can buy or not buy insurance on themselves and dependents to cover accidents, repairs, theft and so on. Auto loans and lienholder agreements on insurance are private enterprise.

The problem with insurance today is the huge sums the insurance institutions are controlling. Abuses of the system include various schemes aimed at ‘investing’ premium money, loses of investor money, high paid executives, bailouts and the taxpayers paying to reimburse the insurance companies for the premium money lost gambling. Mandatory insurance equals loss of control of your own money. Pooling money is a good idea but not if the holding company only has to keep less than 10% of it on hand, while gambling the rest away.

Return the money spent on insurance to the people to invest in what healthcare they need on a cash basis or to purchase healthcare insurance. The money now controlled by insurance companies would be reduced. The consumer would have more disposable income to circulate. Businesses would be free of paperwork and obligation except for industrial insurance.

Business opportunities in the form of low cost health clinics would prosper. A labor pool exists from laid off healthcare workers, job freezes in the healthcare field, plus new graduates who cannot get a job. Private insurance would have opportunities to form money pools addressing the high deductable cost of government insurance. Private insurers could open their own clinics.

Private enterprise would prosper under this plan.

Crucial elements in time order:

Use stimulus money to refurbish vacant buildings into low cost health clinics located every x number of population. This action would have several needed results, the establishment of more clinics plus short term construction jobs and long term health care jobs plus utilization of vacant properties. Clinics must be in place, either government or private enterprise, before the rest of the plan is implemented.

Develop guidelines for personal insurance in various categories. Rescind mandatory insurance and watch the market adjust to the new conditions of more circulating capital and more freedom of choice in business and for the individual. The clinics accept business and the people get affordable health care.

Attracting votes with policy change is an old ploy but this reform idea would attract votes from businesses struggling under an insurance load, the worker who wants more money in his pocket, the voter who wants freedom to choose on insurance, unemployed healthcare workers, people who do not have insurance and civic leaders who favor clinics. This could be a popular idea. Did I say the populist word?