Health Care Ideas
With all the brouhaha regarding the healthcare debate, the one thing that’s not really getting said is what would we on the right wing do to make improvements to the health care system. It’s true, the liberal approach to big government healthcare stinks with the fetid stench of socialism. But while we debate the topic of health care with the liberals, we also need to be aware of the ideas by which we would improve our national system and make it better.
So, I bring out these points that have been articulated by John C. Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis, as written in the March 2009 issue of Imprimis. It’s not my intention, specifically to plagiarize Dr. Goodman, but it is my intent to share these ideas with you, the faithful readers of The Rabid Conservative.
Health care needs to be about real choices that benefit the patient-doctor relationship and put patients and doctors at the center of the program. These ideas, while not exhaustive, are good ways to start with that.
1. Give patients control over some, if not all, of their Medicare money. Dr. Goodman says at minimum, 1/3 of that money should be at the discretion of the patient. Yeah, put some constraints on what exactly the money can be spent, but after that, let the patients decide. I bet they’ll be far more frugal, generally.
2. Allow doctors to price and package services like every other professional does. Right now, doctors have to live under the constraints of Medicare and the insurance companies. The way I see it, if you allow doctors the same flexibility as other professionals and inject that good ol’ entrepreneurial spirit, suddenly, competition becomes real and the market deals with price control.
3. The stimulus bill had provisions for digitizing medical records. I would tend to agree with this one, just so long as the database does not give the government power to dictate clinical guidelines and make national coverage decisions. The information remains in the hands of physicians and accessible by them and their patients. I believe it’s time to begin re-writing HIPAA for the 21st century’s world of information.
The difficulty with digital records is where to keep the information. If you create a central database, you can bet the insurance lobby will push for access to that database in order to manage their risk and exposures.
I agree that information should be visible and quickly accessible, but in so doing, stiff controls need to be put in place to ensure that information is secure.
4. Promote more self-help services for medical care. Allow doctors and health professionals to be more conversant with patients (phone and e-mail – what a concept!) as well as build better databases for helping people provide their own medical care at home. Things like WebMD are a start, but government grant money to build such a repository of information can reduce the burden on the system.
5. Get the system pre-funded by encouraging people to save for their own health care. Give them incentives to do it, such as tax protection or even dividends. Encourage HSA’s more in the marketplace and in the workplace. Encourage people to start putting money away to pay for their own expenses. Dropping $50-$100 a month into an HSA with a potential employer match (like a medical 401k) will pre-fund the system and reduce the burden on the tax payer.
6. Mandate warranted care for major hospital procedures and require hospitals and clinics to disclose error and infection rates. A big drag here is if you go in for a procedure and they jack you up or they don’t get it right, you go back for re-treatment and pay for that. Wouldn’t be nice to go to the hospital just once and get whatever is broke fixed?
These are just a few ideas from Dr. Goodman and I think while we as Conservatives carry on the fight against socialized medicine, we should also promote ideas that would actually fix the system without putting Washington as the comptroller of the system. We don’t need the government involved in this. All we need is the good sense and determination to sort this on our own and then go get it done.
And then Congress won’t have to worry about reading a thousand page document in one night to make sure the legislation actually make sense.
BTW – Tell your reps and senators that if they don’t have the common courtesy and decency as an elected official to read what they are signing, then just say no!