September 2, 2009
Six proven solutions
to the health care "crisis"
You may have heard that we have "a crisis of health care costs." You may have heard that it's about the availability of insurance, pre-existing conditions, and unfairness. And all of this is combining to make a national crisis.
Unfortunately, the debate is completely missing the mark. This debate isn't about keeping you healthy. It isn't about cheaper insurance. And it certainly isn't about curing disease. In fact, our modern medical system isn't about cures. It's about disease maintenance. The longer you stay alive, but sick, the more money the medical system makes.
No, the debate is about how much control the government should have in your health care. The proposal on the table is called "Obamacare." I recently sent you a special health alert about the dangers of Obamacare. This proposal would give the government full control of 20% of our economy — and perhaps complete control of your body. This is shocking, considering the history of cancerous growth of government in this country. But what shocks me even more is that a significant block of the population is in favor of this aggressive metastasis taking over.
So what should America's health care system look like? It wouldn't be right for me to tell you to oppose something and not suggest or have constructive alternatives to offer. I believe that I've known the solution for years. But, I'm not in the "in crowd." Writing to the bought-off politicians does little but fall on "blind" eyes. But perhaps they will hear your voice.
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Many years ago in Alaska, the now defunct Anchorage Times allowed me to be one of the first (quite possibly the very first) in the nation to publish my idea of solving the coming crisis. I proposed personal financial incentives, which seem to be a key way of resolving most anything. My suggestion was medical savings accounts (MSA) as a cure for the brewing nightmare. (This was way back around 1992.) Sure enough, MSAs have worked quite well. But there's a lot more we can do. Here are just six simple ideas to treat the cause of the problem. These are real solutions that will work:
(1) Equal taxation for all on health care costs
Health care expenditures exploded when insurance "benefits" became pre-tax. We will go nowhere as long as there is continuation of a most unfair imposition of tax "benefits." Presently there are those working for companies that can afford these pre-tax benefits, versus those working for themselves or for small companies where such "benefits" would bankrupt them.
The concept of pre-tax dollars used for health insurance goes back to the WWII days of wage and price controls. Wages could not be raised, so companies went around the law by offering medical insurance with the company's pre-tax dollars. I say, "Level the playing field." Equal protection is the most basic of legal paradigms mandates. Make all health insurance either pre-tax OR post-tax.
It's certainly fair that a company might be willing to pony up unlimited sums for health insurance. However, it's just not fair that your neighbor, who works for that company, gets $10,000 in pre-tax dollars (a tremendous incentive to spend more) for excessive health insurance, while you have to pay with post-tax dollars because you work for yourself or a small firm that can't afford these benefits. This will do as much or more to solve the problem than anything.
I do strongly suggest making it all pre-tax. That way, you can tell your employer to hand the money over to you. He gets the same tax deduction and same cost to his business as he gets now. You buy your own insurance. That way it's tax deductible for you and you can take it with you when you leave that company. It's portable!
You also can choose programs that reward wellness and pay for non-toxic therapies. As more people do this, the programs will become less costly simply due to free market principles. If you choose less expensive insurance than the amount he gave you, then you pay taxes on the difference. But you get to keep what remains as the incentive for lowering expenditures. If you want more insurance, you pay for it, and, you get to deduct the difference.
I have no problem with making these expenses all post-tax dollars. Just level the playing field. With less money to spend (if it is post-tax) people will naturally look for the most cost-effective programs, rather than press for wantonly wasteful "Rolls Royce" insurance benefits. They will have far more incentive to be wise with expenditures, as it all will be coming out of their pocket. The present paradigm offers no incentives to save for those with such "Rolls Royce" pre-tax programs.
(2) Medical savings accounts = Financial incentives to stay well
If costs are all pre-tax, suddenly we will have created the most awesome force for wellness — a financial reward. Presently, we are plunging into the abyss, since people think that they can get others (or the rich) to pay for their medical care. That's one reason why Medicare recipients are so pleased with Medicare. Others are paying for them. They're just oblivious to the fact that Medicare is approaching insolvency. With someone else paying, there's just no incentive to stay well and practice prevention, or not make unnecessary use of the system. It has nothing to do with age. It's simple human nature.
Medical savings accounts counter this economically. You set aside so much money per year. It is tax deductible. Out of this comes your own personally picked insurance program. This is your program, not some corporation's. It is totally portable, so you can take it with you. That way, you won't have to worry about loss of coverage if you have to switch programs, since you are carrying your own! You can also use those tax-deductable funds for therapies that insurance or the medical mob will never approve of. It is your choice! Not the choice of the Fraud and Deception Administration (FDA) or some bureaucrat approving or disapproving your treatments thousands of miles away.
After you achieve a reasonable deductible in your account, you can skim off the rest as a present for you for staying well. If you stay well, and your balance exceeds a minimum, you are rewarded with the excess being returned to you! This, though, will incur a tax since you did not use it for health expenses. This proposal goes a long way toward restoring a truly free market over the horrid corrupt government protected Pharma monopoly!
These are two of the most important steps we can take toward fixing the system. In my next health alert, I'll tell you what the other four steps are. You'll quickly see, if you haven't already, that this is real change you can believe it — not more government control.
Yours for better health and medical freedom,