With all the talk about stimulus packages and health insurance reform I think that it is time for a reality check and a dose of common sense. While Washington has been busy with multi-billion dollar bailouts of failed financial services companies and struggling car manufacturing companies, it seems that hard working small business people have been left by the wayside, once again. Several weeks ago all the politicians were rallying around sound bites about “taking care of Main Street and not just Wall Street”, but so far it has been all a bunch of rhetoric.
What I would like to see is a Health Care Stimulus Package that offers meaningful and near term benefits to help the small business people that make up Main Street, USA. Let’s start off by offering everyone that buys their own health insurance a tax deduction for the premiums they are paying. Want to help reduce the uninsured and make health insurance more affordable? Well then give us deductions, or better yet, tax credits to help us afford to stay insured today. The public needs help today while the politicians are sorting out what the future of health care services in this country looks like.
While polls show that few people trust the government to run health care services, I think most people do trust that the government could better regulate it. Rather than trying to further upset the economy by turning an entire industry on its ear with an ill timed power play, how about if the government sticks to governing? The government will serve the public’s near and long term interests best by taking regulatory measures to provide universal coverage and cost controls. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but we do need to make sure the wheels are round, smooth and efficient.
Finally, the government needs to get on the ball and start widespread use of Public Service Advertisements on TV to promote the public programs it does have to help enroll children in Child Health Plans (CHP) and the needy into Medicaid. Studies show that 1 in 4 uninsured Americans are eligible for a public program, but are not enrolled. Why? Because people are unaware of the programs, what the eligibility requirements and enrollment procedures are. Also, people are intimidated by enrolling in government programs, fearful of a little thing known as red tape. While campaigning, politicians brag about supporting these programs, but talk is cheap. Come to think of it the Public Service Advertisements are cheap too, so what is the excuse for not leveraging the power of TV advertising to get the word out about the programs and help America’s children and poor people?
I love this country and our way of life. I believe in our political system and I am deeply grateful to the public servants that work hard to serve the public’s best interests. I hope that common sense will prevail and that our nations politicians won’t throw the baby out with the bath water. I hope they will preserve what is best and use the government’s ability to regulate to bring out the best of our free market system, while improving the efficiency, availability and cost effectiveness of America’s health care system. Then they can sleep well at night knowing they did the right thing for their country. After all, wasn’t that why they became public servants?