Our American health care system does need improvement, but the frenzied push for nationalized health care has been economically catastrophic, socially oppressive, and most dangerous of all, Constitutionally illegal. There is simply no Constitutional justification for the massive intrusion of the federal government into our personal lives. The government’s take-over of 20% of our national economy and the subsequent intrusion into the most private of issues is a recipe for disaster. There are better alternatives!
I am an advocate of consumer-driven health care where consumers are in the driver’s seat. We ought to be able to choose our doctors, make informed choices, and be rewarded when we take action to stay healthy and avoid unnecessary utilization of health care services. The 82nd Texas Legislature passed HB 5, the Health Care Compact, which is a great first step in protecting Texans from nationalized health care.
Below is an excerpt from an article I wrote about health care reform in 2009. All of these suggestions are simple and easy to understand and CAN BE IMPLEMENTED IMMEDIATELY. They are pure common sense.
1. Sell insurance across state lines – insurance should be portable and controlled by the individual.
2. Tort reform – no reform plan can be taken seriously without tort reform. Any suggestion otherwise is foolish and incomplete.
3. Change licensing laws to allow PAs and RNs to provide general medical services within the scope of their training and profession (such as ordering labs, cultures, minor prescriptions, and other professional services they are trained and licensed for) at lower costs with a collaborative medical doctor. Nurses can develop treatment regimes that don't require hospitalization and manage the patient at that level of care (such as adjusting medications within certain parameters). When a health situation supercedes the scope of care of a properly licensed PA or RN, they can then refer to a physician for a higher level of treatment.
One great example of experienced health professionals providing quality health care at lower cost and with more personal service is midwifery. A certified nurse-midwife practices in private homes or birthing clinics, and will have a professional relationship with a doctor for cases of emergency. And in the course of a normal pregnancy, a midwife is perfectly capable or handling all pre-natal and birthing care without direct medical oversight. A further benefit is that the cost of using a midwife at home or in a birthing clinic is far lower than that of a hospital birth - by half or more! I've used midwives for three home births and can expound at length upon the quality and appropriateness of care.
There are other alternative choices for health care that are non-invasive and do not require the direct oversight of a doctor that can be provided at lower cost for affordable, quality health care options for us all.
4. Re-evaluate all regulations which add to health care costs. Regulations that unnecessarily increase the cost of insurance are largely responsible for the high number of uninsured people today. One of the best ways to solve the uninsured problem is to repeal unnecessary regulations, and then to fund high-risk pools that can provide subsidized insurance only to those who need it.
5. Allow tax deductions for individuals purchasing health care insurance.
6. Raise the limit on HSAs and increase their use. I use my HSA every single week for common health-related purchases, but I will lose my HSA under the government plan.
7. Many doctors are upset about what they see as unwarranted intrusions by government and insurers into the doctor-patient relationship. Some have formed a network, called SimpleCare, that refuses to accept payment by insurance companies. Check out that link for seven interesting articles about independent medical care – freedom from what one doctor calls the “idiocracy” of the medical insurance industry bureaucracy.
8. Stimulate private initiative: challenge private charity organizations to develop plans to offer health care services to the poor – offer tax incentives and initial seed money as a way to begin returning this type of assistance back to the private sector.
9. Eliminate the bureacratic panels deciding who gets what care in the infamous Managed Care of Medicaid and Medicare. These insurance "brokers" (such as Evercare, Texas Healthspring, Texan Plus, Blue Cross/Shield) contract with the government to manage X number of people and whatever they don't spend on those people, they keep as profit. That completely disincentivizes them from providing complete care! Talk about a profit-motive to cut corners! Thus, patients who are underserved often return with worse complications and end up costing the taxpayer more in follow-on treatments.
To add insult to injury, many of those Managed Care Providers don't even pay the doctors and hospitals providing service to their insured! The case manager gets to pick and choose what they will pay for and for whom. If it's not deemed necessary, the insurance won't pay. This is a perfect example of how health care by bureaucratic panel can be a death sentence.
10. Promote CBA (Community Based Alternative) programs within Medicaid to help keep people out of nursing homes and hospitals (such as nurse managing home-based or hospice care). Another example is supervising nutritional nutritional regimes to help treat the cause of diabetes, not just the symptoms. In the long run, the nursing care can be more effective and less expensive than medical intervention.
Here are even more suggestions and an expansion on a few I already mentioned. I endorse every single one of these free market reforms as proposed. I’m sure there are even more useful free market ideas out there – there is no limit to American ingenuity. Innovation, creativity, and flexibility are all hallmarks of the free market, and will be lost in a government take over.