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Open Letter on Health Reform

May 13th, 2009 – We need health care reform that should include:

1. Universal health care through government mandates. Give a tax break to people that buy their own health insurance.  Everyone in America should have coverage.
2. Insurers should cover everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions.
3. Get employers out of the benefits business and let people buy their own health insurance. Insurance should be tied to individuals and not to jobs. This will give people more freedom of choice and get rid of the stress of changing plans when people change jobs.
4. Allow insurers to have different levels of benefits for people with different needs. Not everyone needs or wants the same plan and we should respect those individual differences. However, there does need to be a minimum standard for a qualified health insurance plan.
5. To better spread risk, penalize those that can afford health insurance but don’t have coverage by increasing their payroll withholding to pay the fine. This includes illegal aliens and anyone that gets W2 and 1099 income.

Guarantee issue coverage means that consumers will have true portability. Portability means a free market (at last) for health care. Consumers can change plans any time they want, which means that carriers have to compete on price, benefits and service. Providing a free market means that consumers win and without expanding government.

I realize this does not address the core issue of addressing the cost drivers for out of control hospital, prescription drug or outpatient services costs.  We need to step up the use of technology for more efficient and accurate information transfer, standardization of claim forms and anti-fraud enforcement.

We need to change the compensation method to give doctors an incentive to see patients and help them get healthy and stay healthy, rather than compensation driven by performing tests, defensive medicine and writing prescriptions.

If we want to have costs as low as the Europeans then we need to become at least as healthy as the Europeans. Society benefits from individual responsibility.  That means as a nation we’ll need to eat better, smoke less, become more physically fit and avoid lifestyle driven illnesses.

Personally, I have no problems with the government taxing fast food, junk food, soda, beer, cigarettes or anything else that harms society. After all, the cost of cigarettes is finally what made me quit years ago. Maybe if unhealthy food were more expensive that would have a positive effect as well.

America will be healthier, happier and more productive place with these changes.

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