ALMOST 30 YEARS AGO I PUT TOGETHER MODIFIED TEMPLATE FOR A VERY AFFORDABLE NATIONAL HEALTH CARE PLAN AND SUBMITTED IT TO THOSE WHO REPRESENTED ME IN CONGRESS. NOW, MORE THAN EVER, WE NEED TO MAKE A CHANGE IN THE AVAILABILITY, QUANTITY AND QUALITY OF OUR HEALTH CARE DELIVERY SYSTEM. MEDICALLY SPEAKING, OUR CURRENT SYSTEM IS IN EXTREMELY CRITICAL CONDITION.
Privatized National Health Care—A Plan
About 30 years ago, a friend and I sat at lunch and talked about an idea he had about a national health plan that would cost taxpayers virtually nothing. We bounced ideas back and forth and then left. I continued thinking about it and made several modifications. However the basic premise remained the same.
Using simple numbers, assume the U.S. population to be 300,000,000. Congress will grant the six largest health insurance companies limited anti-trust immunity, similar to that enjoyed by professional baseball. This would apply to other insurance companies with whom the original six companies may choose to sub-contract.
Congress would also set up regional oversight committees, consisting of representatives from ALL professions, but with a voting majority belonging to lay persons. Those committees, in turn, would appoint representatives on a rotating basis to meet nationally to review possible abuses in the system.
The only other thing Congress has to do is pass legislation establishing the severest possible penalties for any and all individuals involved in cheating, bringing profit for themselves and/or the company they work for. I suggest 20 years in prison for the first offence without possibility for parole for all people involved AND supervisors who knew or should have known about their activities, including CEO’s. It is called accountability and necessary with dealing with billions of dollars.
The main companies, without tax dollars, will divide the population as evenly as possible. This would mean about 50,000,000 people per company. There would be mechanisms to “tweak” the number of individuals from all socioeconomic groups, health risk categories and age groups.
Why would this work? Even at only $10.00 per person per month, each company would bring in $500,000,000.00 per month or 6 billion dollars per year. That number could be higher if necessary, but this is a lot of money (why penalties have to be so harsh for cheating). With this amount of income, the six companies have tremendous purchasing power and can actually dictate process to the drug companies and other suppliers to health care facilities, etc.
There would be plenty of money for more doctors, to cover ALL conditions and actually provide preventative health care (good for their bottom line).
What about those who just can’t afford $10.00 per month per family member? This is where religious, civic and charitable organizations come in. Again, there would be NO TAX DOLLARS.
There will be profit for all of the insurance companies. They will pay regular taxes just a those paid by any other business. There will also be a Congress generated stipulation that at least 50% of the corporate profits (after taxes) have to be re-invested in the U.S. economy.
Every man, woman and child would be covered. Every form of treatment would be covered on an equal basis.
Of course, the amount could be higher than the $10.00 mentioned. Then again, it wouldn’t be but a small fraction of what is currently proposed. In truth, most people do not use their health care policy during a 12 month period. The possibility for profit is staggering, in spite of an aging population. The average citizen will be healthier and doctors, not HMO’s will once again practice medicine. They can prescribe tests and medicines that are necessary. People will not have to choose between food, rent, gasoline and medications. Doctors will once again be able to be reimbursed a reasonable fee for their services.
This is a template. It can work. The weakest link appears to be Congress. This plan was submitted to Congressmen Kolbe and Giffords. It was also sent to Senators Di Concini and McCain. A patient of mine is an attorney really tried to tear the plan apart. He finally said, “This could actually work”. He called his son, a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. (actually living in Phoenix) and asked him to check into this. A few days later, the son called to say that the plan had been floating around Congress for about 20 years.
It is reasonable that members of Congress could be concerned. After all, for the most part after passing a few regulatory laws, the government is out of the picture. They would certainly resent the thought that they would have to be part of the same insurance coverage that every other American has.
It is reasonable that the insurance industry would neither like the accountability aspects nor the requirement about re-investment of profits into the American economy.
For certain the pharmaceutical companies and other suppliers wouldn’t like it because they could no longer have total control over what they can charge for their products.
No doubt there will be many of our citizens won’t like this plan mainly because they are human and Americans. They resist anything just because they able to.
A patient of mine was a member of the American Arbitration Association. He said the measure of whether arbitration was successful was the reaction of the participants. If all parties walked away a bit dissatisfied, then the arbitration process was very successful. Based upon these criteria, this national health insurance plan is an excellent option.
Perhaps a more united voice could get Congress to actually pay attention to what their constituents suggest. Perhaps those who read this, lending their voices, are what it will take.