Real health care reform is going to from exercising common sense and working together. The reality is that the U.S. is one of the few “first world” countries that does not have some type of centralized health care system. This means that there is some involvement by the Government, not that everything is paid for and run by the Government. A public-private partnership similar to Medicare Advantage for everyone is the only thing that makes sense. Especially in a world where it is expected that Technology will lead to further job losses. There has already been talk of a universal basic income for all Americans which would be sufficient to bring recipients above the poverty line. This is being tested in other countries and in Oakland (CA) & San Francisco (CA). Alaska already has a Permanent Fund Dividend program. And Charles Murray has written that Of Course We Can Afford A Universal Basic Income: Do We Want One Though?. In his version a portion of the UBI would be allocated to health insurance. His theory is that the UBI would be financed by getting rid of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income, housing subsidies, welfare for single women and every other kind of welfare and social-services program, as well as agricultural subsidies and corporate welfare. As of 2014, the annual cost of a UBI would have been about $200 billion cheaper than the current system. By 2020, it would be nearly a trillion dollars cheaper.
And this circles back to the discussion on Health Care, the UBI while not only providing positives for all Americans including those living in areas where jobs are not coming back or who lose their jobs to technology, is that this would be another $200 billion a year that could be put towards health insurance.
The concept of single payer health insurance is something that should be seriously discussed, for example take a look at Dissecting Aetna’s Surprising Single-Payer Stance. The article takes a look at different single payer systems and points out that Aetna was the first financial intermediary for Medicare and paid the first check while running Medicare.
Medicare Advantage is the privatization of Medicare Parts A & B and has increased from it’s start in 1997 to covering over 33% of the people on Medicare in 20 years. Today over half of the people currently fully signing up for Medicare for the first time are choosing Part C (which is amazing because two thirds of the doctors won’t accept it). So in another 20 years, it is possible that the whole Medicare pool will be on Part C. Private health insurance agents and brokers may be getting to play a bigger role in selling exchange plan coverage as Web Brokers Win a Major Healthcare.gov War. Moving government out of selling health insurance is a good move as it will give consumers access to who may have more expertise.
If the Senate can overcome partisanship issues and work together in repairing the Affordable Care Act rather than replacing it as discussed in A Health Insurance Roadmap, there would be positive outcomes for all Americans. And just this week, Republicans and Democrats try to launch bipartisan effort on health care, so this could happen. And in another positive sign on this front, Senators Use Chronic Care Bill to Mend Fences which would help those with chronic health conditions. Though on the flip side, there is concern and reason to Hope You Don’t Expect The Senate GOP To Be Transparent About Obamacare Repeal and Secret Republican Senate Talks Are Shaping Health Care Legislation. And here’s another perspective on Building a Broader Consensus for Health Reform from JAMA, basically trade-offs do need to be made.
The focus should be on optimizing the money that is spent on Health Care. The US spend far and away the most money per person of any country in the world on health care, however, the results are not there. A prime example would be revamping the pricing of medical services and legitimate pricing in health care would result in annual savings of 33% or $1 Trillion Dollars, And, as discussed above, health insurance companies need to do their part as UnitedHealth Doctored Medicare Records, Overbilled U.S. By $1 Billion, Feds Claim. If you are able to save $1 in expenses, that’s a $1 extra in your pocket.
Besides causing anxiety for health insurance, the AHCA and potential Senate legislation is causing uncertainty for health care systems. The key really is that costs have to be covered and prior to the ACA, here was the Secret Sauce In Maine’s Successful High-Risk Pool: Enough Money. According to a leadership survey conducted by BDC advisors, here’s the Healthcare Strategy in the Year of Uncertainty. And here’s a look at how The costs of Trump’s sabotage of Obamacare already are showing up in rate hikes and Thousands of Obamacare Customers Left Without Options as Insurers Bolt. And in further agreement, Regulators Ask Washington to Save Health Market.
The good news for health insurance is that there is a lot of distraction in Washington currently with the appointment of a special prosecutor, the firing of James Comey from the FBI and the question of the release of classified intelligence documents by Trump to the Russian Foreign minister. This is not a political statement, it is just noting that there are many items for the Senate to consider and this could continue to slow down any momentum on making dramatic changes to the Affordable Care Act. Remember for there to be a change, the Senate has to come with a plan, pass it, then they have to reconcile it with the House, then the plan has to be passed by both the House and Senate and then it has to be signed by the President. This has a long way to go and there are a lot of differing opinions. There is still time for the Senate to consider a Fair and Practical Health Insurance Solution.
The Bottom Line:
If you want to help make a positive change, please sign the petition “Introduce a practical and fair health insurance solution” at Change.org (click).
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