Monday, June 29, 2009

My health care plan

Let me ask everyone a question: Do you consider price and discount when buying Tylenol and Pepcid? I answer in the affirmative.

Here's another question: Do you consider price when considering brain surgery? I answer in the negative.

Therefore, I suggest splitting health care costs into two categories:
1) Medical goods that a consumer could price and shop accordingly on.
2) Medical goods that a consumer cannot price and shop accordingly on.

Once you do this, you can split up medical costs into:
1) Costs subject to a deductible.
2) Catastrophic Costs.

And, further, you can say the following:
For 1) You don't want third party payers, since you want the consumers to shop for the best price.
For 2) You can have a third party payer. In fact, you can have one: the Federal Government.

Now, here's Milton Friedman's plan:

"A more radical reform would, first, end both Medicare and Medicaid, at least for new entrants, and replace them by providing every family in the United States with catastrophic insurance (i.e., a major medical policy with a high deductible). Second, it would end tax exemption of employer-provided medical care. And, third, it would remove the restrictive regulations that are now imposed on medical insurance—hard to justify with universal catastrophic insurance.

This reform would solve the problem of the currently medically uninsured, eliminate most of the bureaucratic structure, free medical practitioners from an increasingly heavy burden of paperwork and regulation, and lead many employers and employees to convert employer-provided medical care into a higher cash wage. The taxpayer would save money because total government costs would plummet. The family would be relieved of one of its major concerns—the possibility of being impoverished by a major medical catastrophe—and most could readily finance the remaining medical costs. Families would once again have an incentive to monitor the providers of medical care and to establish the kind of personal relations with them that were once customary. The demonstrated efficiency of private enterprise would have a chance to improve the quality and lower the cost of medical care. The first question asked of a patient entering a hospital might once again become "What’s wrong?" not "What’s your insurance?"

I would add a Democratic Party addition to this plan: You could relate the deductible to income.

That's my plan. Everyone covered.

I would add the following: I've no idea what the correct amount of money that we should spend on health care should be. That's why I would like some portion of our medical bills to be subject to our own choice.

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