Friday, October 24, 2008

More Thoughts on Health Care Reform

Everyone needs to have some type of coverage, that much is a given. Costs are out of control and that is a given. With better education and a lot of personal accountability into our own health care, I think costs can be controlled. However, there is still a problem with the number of people uninsured.
Here are some of my thoughts:

For those that are employed, there should be some sort of employer-subsidized health care coverage so in my opinion, any company, large or small, that provides its employees some sort of meaningful health care coverage should be given some sort of tax break.

For those employees, I also think there should be some sort of tax break for any medical expenses they have to pay out of pocket that aren't covered by their health plan. This is including a tax break on whatever premiums they have to pay that are not offset by their employer.

I also think that there should be a broader range of health insurance policies from which to choose from. That way, there isn’t some “one size fits all” policy that they have to choose from. If the employee is given a better choice of what type of coverage they want, this could reduce costs significantly.

I also think that it should be mandatory that this employer-based coverage cover the employee’s dependents as well. Obviously this would be waived if the employee’s spouse has his or her own coverage through their employer.

So, for those people who are unemployed and do not have health coverage, I think that they should have some sort of program like Medicare or Medicaid. In fact, perhaps these two programs could be combined so that they are covering those are that elderly and those that just flat out don’t have jobs. So why do these people not have jobs? I don’t know and that is not my concern in this particular post. Once these people find jobs, they will be off the state-funded health coverage rolls but that is a discussion for a later topic. For now, we are talking about health care specifically, not finding jobless people employment.

I also think that these systems (Medicare and Medicaid) need to be reformed. I do not think they are properly funded nor are they properly administered. This is where it gets tricky. Do we let the federal government administer them or do we leave it up to the states?

If we let the federal government take control over it, we can make sure that it is properly funded through whatever progressive tax system is in place to cover it. However, with the federal government having control over it, that means that it will be run by bureaucrats that know nothing about the medical system.

If we let the state governments take control over it, there might be less of a chance of someone that knows nothing about the system administering it but there is still that chance. However, with funding, there is no guarantee that the funding problem will be solved.

So who will administer the program? That I’m not 100% decided on.

I do not think John McCain’s idea for health care reform is going to work. He is stating he wants to give a $5000 tax credit to a family so they can buy their own insurance. I do not see how this is going to help anyone. First of all, a tax credit is all well and good but we still have to come up with the money to pay for the health care costs. Granted, if we were not paying premiums to our employer, that would free up some money but that is still not going to be enough.

Here is an example of why that is not enough money. If I were to purchase insurance company, for example, through the same company I currently have my employer-based insurance through $5000 alone would not cover my health care costs. I did some figuring and the cheapest I could get by with paying for health coverage per year is $6900. This includes the monthly premiums and the yearly deductible. This does NOT, however, cover the 20% coinsurance (the amount I would have to pay after the insurance company coves their part) that I would have to pay, plus the cost of office visits (co-pays), plus the cost of whatever medication I might need, etc…

So while the thought of a $5000 tax credit might appeal to some. Logically, it does not work and definitely does not help. Go back to the drawing board Senator.

In my recent interview with Republican candidate for U.S. Congress, Larry Ishmael, he stated he would make the amount of the tax credit for families $8000 as opposes to $5000. While that might be a little more feasible, again we are talking about a tax credit. We are not talking about the government giving you money. They are talking about a tax deduction. That does not always help. Again, we still have to come up with the money to pay for these health care costs so while this tax credit idea is good in theory, like I said, it logically does not fix anything. Maybe I just don’t understand how this whole idea about how a tax credit helps anything.

But I’m not just going to pick on John McCain’s health care proposal. I don’t think Barack Obama’s is much better.

He is in favor of one of those “one size fits all” health care plans that I just don’t think is a good idea. Not everyone needs the same type of health care insurance. Not everyone needs the same type of coverage. He supports making it mandatory that all children have health insurance, which is fine. I agree all children should have it but if their parent’s have a job, they should be able to get covered under their parent’s health insurance. There is no need to put them on Obama’s public health care plan. I really think that if there is a public health care plan, it should be reserved for those that are not employed. There is no reason to spend more money in an area where there is no need to spend any more money.

He also wants to extend Medicaid to those with a very low income and provide subsidized coverage for those with a medium income. I’m not sure if I agree with that 100%. If these people do have some sort of income, again, their employer should be able to provide some sort of insurance.

I also am not necessarily sure I agree that heavier regulation on the industry is going to improve costs. Costs are ridiculously high but I think a lot of that stems from personal accountability. People just don’t take care of themselves anymore and they really need to wise up and realize that we, people, could very well be at fault for a large portion of the rising costs of health care. But again, I do not think that regulating the industry (at least not expanded regulation) is the answer. Granted, insurance companies should be regulation just as any other business would to head off unethical practices and behavior. And granted hospitals, providers and doctors also should have some sort of accountability into their actions. So maybe I am okay with regulation of the industry but not necessarily as a way to improve costs.

I do agree, however, with his idea of giving employers a tax credit for the purpose of purchasing medical insurance.

He has this idea about making the new public plan have similar benefits to the health plans of federal employees. I am okay with that. In fact, maybe this new public plan could be the culmination of combining Medicare and Medicaid for those that are unemployed.

But in any case, I don’t think either of the Presidential candidates have the right idea of how to reform the health care system and I thought I would share my thoughts on how I would reform the system.

Your thoughts?

No comments:

Post a Comment