Sunday, June 10, 2007

Health Care Solutions

By Captain Capitalist

The debate about health care continues to rage. There are good ideas out there. Many are shot down instantly because the wrong political party proposed them. Here are a few points I'll put out there without mentioning which party or politician, if any, suggested them.

1. Individual health insurance. One proposal being talked about these days is to make health insurance more like car insurance. You would purchase your own. You wouldn't have to worry about transferring from one workplace to another. Your rate would fluctuate according to your risk level and the number and amount of claims. There could be provisions for a "high risk" pool, with rate limitations or a (dare I say it) government backed policy for those who can't qualify for strictly private sector plans.

2. Tax deductibility. Of course there are Health Savings Plans out there, but wouldn't it be a lot simpler to just make health care expenses (and individual health insurance premiums) tax deductible? What do you care if I pay for my health expenses from a pre-designated bank account or put it on my Visa? Again there could be government backed lending plans, similar to Fannie Mae or the Federal Student Loan Program, to accommodate those who don't have ready access to funds or credit.

3. Realistic goals. How do you prevent someone from being driven to bankruptcy by extraordinary health care costs. In some cases, you can't. Bankruptcy is a hassle. It's not the end of the world. In fact, capitalism wouldn't work without it. You have to have a mechanism for "do overs" when one's financial situation becomes untenable. Starting over can be and is done, every day. The important thing is to ensure that nobody is denied critical care due to lack of funds. Every industry deals with write-offs of noncollectable accounts. Health care is no exception. In many cases, bankruptcy situations can be avoided through access to affordable credit. In cases where it can't, the economy can and does deal with it 24/7.

4. Last and most importantly, focus on common goals and good ideas rather than on who's liable to get credit for them. This runs counter to current political thought processing. Let your elected officials know if you're tired of hearing about what wont work and you'd like to hear about some things that will.

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