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From what I can tell, there’s a lot of name calling, shouting, and general finger pointing taking place over US healthcare reform, and very little grown-up discussion going on. 


I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d like to talk about this without having to listen to people ranting, so for the next few Thursdays, I’ve decided to open up my blog for those who want to have an actual back and forth about US healthcare in general, as well as the pros and cons of the proposed bill and what changes you would like to see our glorious leaders make to the current system.


If you’d like to join in, please follow these simple rules:


No swearing. Sorry, but if you can’t make a point without cussing, this is not the place for you.


No name calling, finger pointing, or general venting about things as they are now, as they were before the Democrats/Republicans (delete as appropriate) did so and so, or as they would be if only the Democrats/Republicans (delete as appropriate) would do so and so. Again, if that’s all you have to contribute, please do it elsewhere.

Only cite something that's in the current healthcare bill if you can provide a link to the relevant page number/wording in the actual 1,000+ page proposal. 

Before we start, in the interest of disclosure, my politics are a little to the right of center. To some people that would put me on a par with Genghis Khan, but that’s only because A: you never knew my old gran, and B: you don’t know much about Genghis Khan. 


I believe the State should care for those who can’t care for themselves.  I also believe it should look out for those who need help getting back on their feet, but not those who see living off the state as a career. 


After five years in the US, I can see the healthcare system here is far from perfect, but I lived over forty years in the UK, and though you may not want to hear it, I can tell you the system is far from perfect there.


Let’s talk healthcare.


If it helps get the ball rolling, here are my thoughts:


1.  I would allow insurance companies to compete in other states, just as the motor insurance industry does.  The increased competition would (one would hope) drive insurance costs downwards.


2.  I would impose harsh penalties on hospitals, doctors and patients who attempt to defraud the Medicare system (as I understand it, Medicare currently loses hundreds of millions of dollars per year to this).   


3.  I would set up a government funded organization to oversee insurance companies and make sure they don’t unfairly back out of contracts. This same organization would pay for/eventually take over medical bills resulting from unexpected injury eg; car crash victims where there is no clear liability.


4.  I would impose harsh fines on the ambulancechasers.com companies, when they bring frivolous lawsuits.

No doubt, I’ve missed a lot.

Bearing in mind the rules listed above. 


If you had the power to do so, what would you change about the current healthcare system in the USA and why?

Site Meter


Aug. 13th, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
I would lower the age for Medicare and work to make certain that children had comprehensive health coverage.

Then I would begin working toward a single-payer system. I realize the health insurance companies wouldn't like that, but they've had their chance, imo.
Aug. 13th, 2009 05:12 pm (UTC)
Hi, Ken. If I understand things right, Medicare is the nearest equivalent to a public system in the US, though it's only for people within a certain age range. Is that right, or is it more complicated than that?

Agree 100% on the children thing, but I wonder if it wouldn't be cheaper for the government to have some kind of 'preferred customer discount' with hospitals/doctors etc. or even tax deductibles based on the number of patients seen.

As I see it, one of the biggest objections to a single-payer system is the cost. Setting aside the 'can't put a price on someone's health' argument (valid as it may be). Have you any thoughts on how to pay for it, in a way which wouldn't affect employers costs to the point where they either lay people off, or stop employing more people?

I wonder if the answer might be to somehow take the employee contributions out of the equation altogether, so that the onus is on the person insured. Though quite how we could do that, I don't know? Any thoughts?
Aug. 13th, 2009 06:07 pm (UTC)
First, call me Mark. :)

Yes, Medicare is similar to a public system, except you can "pay up" and receive more services, or so I understand it. It's age-specific, though, so that's why I wish they would look into lowering that.

Personally, I think a public option would help keep insurance companies honest. There's really no real "competition" between companies now. If they were many more mutual companies (pay out what they take in) it might be different.

As for paying for it, the American people they are going to have to chip in. If you lay out what they are going to get in return, what it will cost them, I think the majority will at least consider it. But, of course, the insurance companies will never go for that. They're just too powerful and I'm afraid they're going to remain that way.

While we might have reform in this country, I don't ever see anything like a universal coverage happening. We're actually lucky, my family has good coverage. But we're the exception and not the rule. :(

Aug. 13th, 2009 06:20 pm (UTC)
Oh dear, sorry about the 'Ken' thing - and for all the numerous other times I've done it. That'll teach me not to look up people's names on their profile.

I think you're right about the lack of competition between insurance companies. It's certainly not helped by the closed competition for each state.

I hope your back feels better soon :)

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