Thursday, August 13, 2009

More ideas to consider for our List of Goals

18. Remove *all* current legal obstacles which inhibit the creation and access to high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs).
This will provide additional access to cost-effective choices and options UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE CONSUMER to aid in their self-management of available insurance proposals.

19. Make the ACTUAL medical billing costs - regardless of WHO PAYS THE BILL - transparent so consumers can understand *exactly* what their health-care services and treatments cost. The idea here is to assist with the creation of INFORMED consumers so they can take an active (not passive) role in selecting / managing their own care. This reporting should not be limited to after-the-fact billing. There should be a provision for non-immediate treatments (and "optional" ones, which are not necessarily the same thing) to have a disclosure of the expected costs of the various options available. While I am certain any option with the greater chance of success will *always* be chosen, there are frequent situations where the costs of doing things in a particular sequence vary with little/no impact on the expected results.

20. Provide a mechanism which will enable people to easily make a *voluntary* and tax-deductible donation to assist people who have no insurance and aren't covered by Medicare, Medicaid or SCHIP. This should be an attractive option for those who are truly concerned about the health care 'for those in need'.

It goes without saying that w
hatever system we devise - either the rational one we are working on to Directly Address the issue; or the "let's turn it over to someone else" approach - it is essential that they be financially responsible, and that we have the freedom to choose doctors and the health-care services that best suit our own unique set of lifestyle choices. We are all responsible for our own lives and our own health. We should take that responsibility very seriously and use our freedom to make wise lifestyle choices that will protect our health. Doing so will enrich our lives and will help create a vibrant and sustainable American society. Clearly, the government cannot FORCE free individual to "do the Right Thing", but those funding the system (i.e., taxpayers) should not be in the position of supporting (rewarding) those same self-destructive habits.

More to come.

- Steve


  1. A follow-up...

    Have we forgotten (ignored) the definition of "insurance"? I have always understood insurance to be a service that allows you to pay a low fee, in return for which the insurance company agrees to pay unlikely (but catastrophic) expenses.

    Insurance makes sense, because the individual could never pay those expenses *if* (or when) they happen. Insurance makes money for the business because these catastrophic expenses are relatively rare. Auto insurance is a prime example.

    It would appear the general population and the politicians have forgotten what INSURANCE *is*.

    Health 'Insurance' should *not* pay for your regular checkup. It should not pay to put a splint on your broken finger. It pays for cancer treatment and heart surgery. After all, Auto insurance doesn't pay for gas or new tires or your worn brakes repairs [please don't quibble about extended coverage policies].

    The current real-world debate focuses on 'payment systems' instead of 'providing services' (as we propose in the discussion on this blog). IMHO, there is NOTHING wrong, ethically or morally, with the idea that Co-pays and Deductible amounts can and *should* be big enough to 'HURT' when it comes out of YOUR (the end-user/patient's) pocket.

    After all, it's *insurance*, not an all-you-can-eat buffet!

    - Steve

  2. Actually, I hadn't forgotten how the concept of insurance figures into our thinking. It's pretty simple really. Idealy, health insurance companies represent groups of individuals who each pay a portion of the bills for those among them who experience unpredictably high medical expenses. Where automobile insurance is concerned some of the insured are going to have accidents - even good drivers. But where this differs from medical insurance is that some diseases and other maladies are often not directly tied to the kinds of life choices which people make. I have a great driving record. I'm quite sure that if I have an accident, even if it is my fault, my insurance rate won't go up much. On the other hand, if I come down with some sort of cancer (which cannot be directly tied to my life choices) my health insurance rates will not only go up, but I might not qualify for health insurance at all for the rest of my life.

    Steve, intermingled with your usual ability to irk me, you have been making some excellent comments and observations lately. I said this before but it bears repeating: How nice it is for a liberal and conservative to pursue common interests without all the distortions and BS unfolding on the public stage. We ought to get an award of some kind.