Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Throwing Out the Baby with the Bath Water

Seems like most of those railing against the private health care system (and health insurance) want to scrap what is working and start all over. Many favor a "Medicare for all" approach without really understanding, or studying the ailments of Medicare (not the least of which is underfunding).

But here is an idea that has not been given much press. Why not run a tandem system and let the public decide?

competition between a new government plan and private insurance programs, has been overshadowed by the political horse race

Keep the current system. Allow the public to buy the Medicare plan if so desired.

In essence, create a new form of competition rather than insisting on a monopoly controlled by the government.

I like it.

Under the proposals being advanced by Clinton, Obama and Edwards, the government would offer coverage for middle-class workers and their families, with benefits comparable to those now provided for federal employees and members of Congress.

You can buy private insurance, or you can buy the same plan Congress has.

Your choice.

What McClellan and other critics say they fear is that the government plan could underbid private insurers

That is the downside.

Since Congress fails to understand the concept of limited funds, they may opt to siphon off increasing taxpayer subsidies to keep the plan competitive.

Only the government can continue to operate by spending more than they take in without collapsing. Private enterprise eventually has to either come to Jesus or go under.

Moon suggested that a government plan could be used to test ideas for reducing waste and improving quality, such as cutting payments for treatments of dubious value

Cutting payments. Sounds like rationing. Is that part of the deal?

Wanna bet some folks won't like that?

"You could allow a government option as a way of setting a standard, as opposed to issuing lots of regulations that would apply to every insurer,"

Give people a choice.

Buy the government plan that covers IVF (as an example) or the private plan that does not.

Granted, this type of approach has its' downside. Of course the government decided to get into the over 65 health care funding business 40 years ago. Rather than driving carriers out of the business it actually created new opportunities. Carriers are still one of the primary sources for supplemental coverage.

You know, insurance to cover the things Medicare does not cover.

I am not saying I am all for this tandem system, but I do believe it can result in a system that allows the public to see there are no free lunches. Some states, Georgia being one of them, are considering allowing individuals and businesses to buy the same plan offered to state employees.

As long as taxpayer dollars are not used to subsidize the cost, I like it.
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