Sorry for this digression from paramotoring—every now and then I feel
the need to vent.
Regardless of your health care leaning, there are some things that
most people will probably agree on with a little thought.
For starters, too many people get health care and don't pay anything,
most commonly through the emergency room. These same people frequently
have reasonable jobs, cable TV, a car, eat out occasionally and enjoy
other benefits of modern life. Yet they bristle at paying for health
care or buying insurance. Why is that? In some cases they take good
health for granted and live on hope that it will continue. But some feel
that they are entitled to free benefits, that somebody else should pay
for it. Some simply want to save the money and take advantage of the
fact that ER's have to treat everybody. That's hardly fair to the rest
Here are some points that seem to be good ideas for any health care
1. Anybody who is able to pay should pay something every time they go to a
doctor. If they can't pay right away, then a penalty should be applied and the
amount added to their yearly tax burden. Paying something will limit
2. Government has an abysmal record for efficiency. Any system should
be structured to allow financial incentives for being efficient.
Appropriate regulation of the private sector may be better than a government run system. If a government run system
is chosen, then
guaranteeing its efficiency, with appropriate incentives, should be of
3. Tort reform is a must. There has to be a balance struck between
responsibility and turning medical mistakes into the lawsuit lottery.
Incompetence should have a consequence, for sure, but
without blowing out the system.
4. It's utterly and completely unfair how our elected
representatives won't have to use the same health care system that they're
crafting. Congressman Fleming of
Louisiana, to his credit, has started a petition that proposes
putting all congressmen under whatever system they enact. That
makes so much sense. So much that it spurred me to write this piece. Here's the petition.
In December, 2009, the Senate health
committee voted 12-11 in favor of a two-page amendment, introduced
by Congressman John Fleming of Louisiana, that would require all
Members and their staffs to enroll in any new government-run health
plan. They are currently exempt and have a separate government
health care plan.
His petition is here
and his hope (besides generating publicity and getting re-elected)
is to have the voice of the people. It's an effort that seems to
5. Not everyone is going to get the same health care nor do I think
that's appropriate. Extra insurance that adds to what's covered by a national plan should be available to those who can afford it.
Such folks will likely receive the ground-breaking,
that eventually trickles down to the rest of us.
6. Poor people who truly can't afford more than basic housing and
food should have a way to get basic health care. They'll do so anyway,
through emergency rooms, which is terribly inefficient. Realize that medical
care is provided already. Calls to 911 already get a person to
the hospital regardless of ability to pay. It would likely be no more
expensive to provide treatment before their ailments get to that point.
7. "Big pharma" is a business that must make money in the same way
everybody else does. Profit is is the linchpin of motivation to make
good products. It's why you work. It's
why your business operates and its why research goes on to improve a
medical system that has been enormously successful. That's how
capitalism works. Provide us a good product, that works with reasonable
(not perfect) safety, that we're willing to pay for, and we'll pay for
it. If the product doesn't work, or is too expensive, we won't pay for it.
Doesn't that sound like every other product?
The system must not become another colossal government bureaucracy
and it must operate with the budget given. As an aside,
wouldn't it be nice if government operated on a pie-based income system. All
government budgets are doled out as a percentage of the total
revenue, not a fixed amount. That way, when a new program or change is
introduced, it must either come with its own funding or have its share of
the pie taken from some existing program's slice. That forces an
efficiency and a realization that sometimes there won't be enough income
to cover expenses.
I would love to see a health care system that essentially everybody pays
into, and everybody benefits from. Where an accident or illness doesn't bankrupt an individual,
and where hospitals don't bear the brunt of running an
emergency room. Such a system could be designed to accomplish these
goals if we have the wherewithal. If the premium comes out of taxes, so
be it. And why not? If everybody is paying into it there should be an
increase in total premiums paid while individuals don't pay any more in
Health care reform is a great opportunity to improve our lot, lets
do our part to get it done right.