Those who have followed my blog over the last 3 years (this one and my old one) know that my primary issue going into the 2008 election was health care reform. I had gone into the election cycle mostly right of center in my ideology and paid most of my attention to the Republicans that were running in that election. But as I was having issues with my own heath and could not find any affordable coverage that would accept me with my pre-existing conditions. I searched high and low, did a ton of research on every Republican candidate just to find any positions held on reforming health care. There was none... Nada... Zilch... Zippo... There was plenty of talk about Iraq. Nothing on how a middle aged, self employed fat guy could find affordable health coverage. So I did the unthinkable and turned to the Dems.
All the major Democratic candidates were talking health care. As it became clear that their race was going to be between Obama and Hillary, I chose the the one that I thought would be more of a moderate and would work with the Republicans on the major issues and in my opinion, that was Obama.
When Obama won the election, I felt that it was only going to be a matter of time before every individual in this country would be able to be covered without going into financial ruin doing so.
As time passed, it became clear that the the health care debate was going to degrade into a political game of football. I blame the president for not submitting his own bill, as opposed to letting 435 representatives and 50 senators craft legislation that was too mind boggling to understand. It became a point of frustration, even to guys like me that were staunch supporters of reforming the obviously messed up health care industry.
So let's say the newly elected senator from Massachusetts does indeed manage to help scuttle the current legislation, then what? Maybe, it's not such a bad idea. (damn!!! did I just say that?)
If that were the case, I'd like to offer a much simpler health care plan (after all, simple is better) These are the only things I'd change...
- Make health insurance coverage mandatory for every American. In theory, if you increase the pool, you lower the costs for all.
- Take the coverage responsibility away from companies and give it to individuals. This way, every American would have the same access to coverage, regardless if they are self employed or they work for Microsoft.
- Allow consumers to shop for coverage nationwide, allowing for more choices and more competition.
- Ban insurance companies from refusing coverage for pre-existing conditions or dropping coverage on those individuals with catastrophic illnesses or injuries.
- Allow for a surcharge (within reason) for individuals that engage in an unhealthy lifestyle. Including smokers and fat asses like me.
- Tort reform, in order to lower malpractice insurance costs. Individuals should not be able to become instant millionaires because of a correctable medical mistake.
- If we are going to continue to treat illegals in this country, we should bill the country of their origin for their care.
- While having a safety net for those who cannot afford coverage, nobody should go scott free. Even welfare recipients should have a percentage deducted from their benefits for a premium and be required to cover an appropriate co-pay.
That's it... Eight simple changes that, if enacted, should make affordable health care available to all Americans. So go ahead and run that existing legislation through the shredder. And let's come up with a simple, common sense bill that shuts out the special interests and provides real care for all.