WhiteSites Blog

My Plan to make healthcare cheap

Posted on Feb 7, 2010 by Paul White

If you take out the political favors and promises, getting healthcareaffordable for everyone is easy.  Here is own set of ideas that couldmake it happen.

Stop covering the uninsured.

I can't go into walmart and take a TV without paying for it.  Healthcare should be the same way. If you don't have health insurance or money, you shouldn't be able to get care.  Illegal workers, and the uninsured abuse this every year.  They go to the emergency room for care, where its billed to Medicaid.  This is turn comes out of our taxes.  What is worse is there is a lot of fraud with medicaid.  Clinics will bill medicaid for services never provided.  But they don't try this with the insurance companies that are very protective of their money.  If we were to stop providing care for these people who most don't even pay taxes this would reduce costs for everyone else.

Force Transparency

Years ago Electric companies were forced to make clear utility statements, that would clearly print the rate, and usage.  Also the state of Texas created a website that shows all the providers available in your area.  The result was instead of getting stuck with reliant with 17.6 cents / KWH, I now get 10.7 cents / KWH with another company.  If healthcare insurance was available from a government site where you could easily compare prices and coverage, this would help americans pick the best company, and increase competition.

Tax Smokes and Boose

To help offset the cost of healthcare a heavy tax should be made on Cigarettes and Liquor.  This amount should be dependent on what these items cost healthcare.  So if smokers cost 50 billion to healthcare then cigarettes need to have a tax on them that make up for this lose.  The goal is a break even between the cost and tax revenue.  The same for Alcohol.  The cost of drunk driving, liver failure, alcohol related crimes should be totaled to get the tax that would be applied to the good.  This should be a State based tax, not a federal one.  This is because states like Utah where very few people drink should not have to pay for Texas and its demand for a good time.

Tax over population

If you want to have a huge family, that is your business, but its not right for society to pay for your 10 kids education in the local school district.  There should not be a full deduction for every child you have.  I understand a deduction for the first two kids, but after that the deduction should be reduced for each and every additional child.  Yes life is precious.  But just because god enables you to make babies doesn't mean you should make 10 of them.  2 should be enough.  I know too many kids that came from large families that state they didn't get the attention they needed growing up. 

Encourage Healthy LifeStyles

Most of us go to the gym and workout because we want to look and feel good.  The results are we often require less healthcare than those who don't.  Think about it, every time you go to the doctor's office who do you see in the waiting room.  Its not the guy who is preparing for a Marathon, or Healthy people.  Its usually people with unhealthy lifestyles.  They don't exercise, and they consume a diet of refined sugar based foods.  One of the reasons people don't want universal healthcare is because they don't want to pay for everyone who doesn't take care of themselves.  When you own a business you have to pay state unemployment for your employees.  The rate is based on the number of claims people from your company have filed for.  Since I have never filed a claim against my own company, my rate is very low.  I am rewarded for not having turnover.  If the government was to tax us based on our lifestyles, and give us lower rates if we go to a gym, then more people would do it.  A once a year physical that would determine our Body Fat, and physical fitness, then tax us based on how we perform.

Update 3/24/2010

I want to revise one thing.  The real cost of health care I am finding out is defensive medicine.  A Patient walks in and if the patient has insurance, they run every test they can looking for something to be wrong, even if the issue was minor and obvious.  As a result what should have been a $1500 hospital bill quick turns into an $6000 hospital bill ( thanks to 2 MRI scans ).  Doctors and Hospitals feel that if they run every test, it protects them from law suits.   However this just contributes to higher health care costs.  If we fix that I honestly think we could easily provide insurance for everyone, while greatly reducing the costs of care. 

I am glad Obama got heath care passed.  Granted I am no fan of Social Programs, as I feel people should pay their own way.  But the republicans are protecting the hospitals, doctors and big corporations who benefit from the high cost of health care.  Republicans ( with the exception of Romney and a few other lesser known ones ) just oppose everything the democrats do.  They even have their own network FOX NEWS.  I used to watch fox all the time, but over time they have gotten to be so biased and ( WRONG ) that I can't stand them.  I consider myself an independent that leans republican, but the people who run the republican party are clueless about everything. 

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j. c. | Mar 11, 2010 6:13 PM
So here is an interesting dilemma:

I was working (and working hard) for a company that just went belly up.  I cannot get COBRA because there is no more company (and therefore no policy on which I can continue to be covered via COBRA payments).

I have tried to get separate coverage (and am willing to pay for it even though I am currently unemployed) but cannot get any because of a pre-existing condition.  Unlike your example above, I am quite physically fit, have a low body fat index, and generally eat well.  Unfortunately I had the misfortune to have been born with a defective heart valve that was not discovered till I was in my mid thirties.  Surgery was able to partially repair it, but I still suffer from side effects and have to continue to seek treatment.

So, under your health plan suggestion, my options would be to "just suck it"? Should I collapse again I shouldn't be covered because... um... I somehow deserve it.  Right?  I should just die... 'cause only rich people deserve to live.  Even though I am perfectly willing to pay for my insurance but am not allowed to.

Answer this: Why is health care tied to employment?  Why not to the block you live on?  Or your favorite ball team?  Or whoever happened to be sitting in the theater watching Avatar with you?

There is no real reason, except that employers were traditionally the ones who paid for your premiums.  But who pays for the premium and which group you are combined with to determine how much your premium will be have no real relationship to each other.  None, other than the fact that the more walls insurance companies can put up between groups, the easier it is to keep people out.  A company has layoffs?  Dump those people if they aren't ideal.  A company goes bankrupt?  Hell, more people they can prune away.  Easy.

Your rationale for cordoning off coverage boils down to this: If more people are allowed onto insurance, MY costs go up.  I don't want MY costs to go up, so screw all of those people.  Must be their own fault anyway, right?  I mean, if you are uninsured or if you are poor then, well, you must have done something wrong. 

This sounds like the selfish talk of the currently insured (you know, like members of congress who are allowed to keep their insurance after they lose office - no worries about pre-existing conditions for them!).

Of course, I WAS insured when I collapsed one day at work.  That's how I found out about my defective heart valve.  Unluckily for everyone, my (and one other employee's) health problems led to an increased premium for all of us the next year.  Hmmm.  That sounds like it might somehow inconvenience someone like you.  I suppose, under your plan, to keep YOU from feeling any financial pain, I should have just been dropped from my insurance that year.  Problem solved!  Have insurance?  Great!  Use insurance?  Lose it!

But what if we move beyond this narrow way of thinking? What happens if you DO open the insurance rolls up to everyone?  Well, first, you start to even out the costs to individual firms.  The company where I worked was pretty small (100 employees or so) and they saw their premiums go up after my collapse (which necessitated emergency surgery) and the cancer of one other employee.  Had we been in a larger pool, these costs would not have had such a large effect - percentage wise - and would have led to a negligible impact in everyone's premiums.  What if the pools were the size of entire state populations?  Seems like the individual dips and blips in costs of a single person couldn't bankrupt a company... and we don't like bankrupting companies, do we?  Or don't we care as long as it doesn't affect you?

And what about the currently uninsured?  Should they see doctors at all?  What if they were in a car accident?  What if they are simply trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle like you propose?  Or are the uninsured only the fat, lazy, unhealthy lifestyle people like yourself (I am assuming you are one of them because you mention going to the doctor's office - and the only people who do that deserve to be sick according to your own rationale). 

Right now, if someone is uninsured, they only have the option of going to the emergency room in case of illness, and that is expensive.  So expensive, in fact, that YOU are subsidizing the costs by paying more in your own insurance premiums (or your employer is).  If these people all had insurance and actually went to see a doctor when they had a cough instead of going to the emergency room, it would have a strong positive impact on medical costs as a whole.

Or we could go your route.  Get into an accident?  We'll take your house.  Oh?  No house?  Ok... well... I suppose you should just die then.  Too bad.  Less cost for me.  me.   me.  me.  me!
Paul | Mar 11, 2010 7:25 PM
I think you are misreading my article.  Its almost as if you read an entirely different article, then posted a comment on my blog venting your anger.  You need to stop putting words in other people's mouths.

Its wrong for insurance companies to raise rates based on genetic defects, as they are not your fault.  But if a person was in a situation in which they caused their own health problems ( smoking, drinking, drugs, over consumption ), then they should be held responsible. 

The cost of health care is high because of the lack of transparency.  They hide the costs from the patients.  This is like picking up a TV at walmart and then you don't find out how much it costs until the bill arrives 30 days later.  If you have ever had a baby before you know what I am talking about.

Once they get some competition going on healthcare the prices will come down.  I am actually against employeer based healthcare.  To me Health Insurance is no different than auto insurance.  Its not your employer's responsibility.  If you get into an accident, you employer and your fellow employees don't pay to fix your car, so why should they pay for your doctor visits?  This is the reason most americans don't take this debate serious, because most of the costs are hidden from them, all they see is their copay amount.  Hiding of costs are why drug companies and Doctors make so much.  What is worse is its legal for them to do this too.

I understand you are upset about how the current system is run, and I agree with you on many things, but universal healthcare would be treated as an entitlement by millions of Americans who would abuse the system.  We need competition via a government run market, not Universal Healthcare.  If the government really wanted to stop the rising prices they would allow hospitals to turn away patients who didn't have coverage, or couldn't pay out of pocket.  But they treat anyone who walks in, and they bill it to medicaid. 

In Texas we have a problem with Pregnant Women who cross the Mexican border walk into a hospital and deliver their babies.  Then they don't pay and its billed to medicaid ( $20K ). These are just a few of the abuses that happen in healthcare.  So yes I understand you are upset, but government needs to address the problems in the current system, before they propose universal healthcare.
j. c. | Mar 11, 2010 7:39 PM
"If you don't have health insurance or money, you shouldn't be able to get care."
Paul | Mar 24, 2010 9:00 AM
Just to prove the problem with health care is defensive medicine.
My sister had to go to the hospital, because of kidney stones.  This had happened to her once already, and when it happened again, she knew exactly what it was.  When she got to the hospital, they insisted on doing 2 MRIs ( that she didnt' need ) billing her insurance $6K.  Hospitals are abusing insurance companies.  They try to run every test they can to maximize profits.  This is the reason Health care is so expensive.  I am glad Obama got his health care passed, but I hope he sticks it to hospitals that over test, as this is the real cost of health care.  If we got rid of this kind of waste, it would cut the cost of healthcare to a fraction of what it is now, and we could easily afford to provide insurance for the uninsured.
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