Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Health Care Thoughts

As the final federal health care bill is assembled, there should be some consideration given to how this might work, and work well.

No Medicare-for-All option? No Anti-Trust? No Mandate!

Our country was founded on the principle of freedom, and forcing citizens to buy health insurance goes against this principle. If we are to give this up, we should get something in return, namely something that works. 'Keeping Them Honest' can be done with a real Medicare-for-All option, or with regulation. We know Medicare works, and regulation of gas, electric and such utilities works – These are two models we can understand – Let's have both. Mandates for automobile insurance does not apply as a model – Each of us choose whether to drive a car on public roads or not, while living, and thus having health risks, is not a choice. If Obama-care beats nothing at all, they will come – a good plan needs no mandate. If the uncovered must be treated, let them join then – If they can not sign then, let someone sign for them. But more to the point, why should we even settle for either/or, when both would be best?

In Sum, Medicare-for-all Option, No Industry Cartel, Strong Healthcare Police and No Mandate!

Finance Health Care Fairly, and Keep Costs Sane:

Taxing those with big health care plans the most, as opposed to those with big incomes, to pay for care for the poor, is not fair, nor particularly noble, when most of the elaborate plans are held by union members. A third way here is to tax most those who can most afford to pay; those who own the most. A federal property tax would not disproportionately hit poor communities like local property taxes do, and since you own something if and only if the government says you do, owners have the best of incentives to pay property taxes.

'This American Life' reports a third of medical costs are not medically necessary. This is an enormous opportunity that we should all take advantage of, and co-payments can inspire individuals to serve the common good here while they serve their own. But a fixed percentage co-pay can become unaffordable if one really needs healthcare – if you get very ill. One way to balance this conundrum is to let the co-pay rise as the logarithm of the expense. Here if you chose an operation ten times the cost of an alternative, you would pay twice as much – a powerful incentive, without a financially flattening upper range of values for the really unfortunate. So Health care costs should come in from those with the means, and go out with thoughtful oversight.

Why Trap Poor Women in Poverty with Unwanted Children, Just Because a Vocal Few Do Not Like Abortion?

There are plenty of cases in which the desires of a minority of us are sacrificed to the majority, as it should be in a democracy. A fetus is not a child and abortion is not murder under our law. The majority of us need not cave to a vociferous minority and add to this crowded world more children than we, individually or collectively, are ready to raise well. Life can be a blessing, or a curse. To be sure, there are moral issues on both sides of this argument, which we can safely entrust to the parents involved.

Let's fix this health care bill right, and get on to other pressing issues: Green Jobs for All Who Want Them, for fuller employment, a better economy, and a climate we can live well with,

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