Friday, October 2, 2009

The Health Care Public Option is Needed!

Ask yourself why the insurance companies are all fighting so hard to eliminate any chance of a public option? Why? Why? Dah! The insurance companies don't want the competition because the public option would blow them out of the water. Yes, Government can do it cheaper simply because there are no government employees expecting $25 million bonuses this year. It is a common misconception that government is always inefficient or more expensive.

I'll go back to my Postal Service example. When my son was living in Eastern Europe, I tried to mail a $50 package to him. He suggested using FedEx. The local FedEx office wanted $375 to send the package. I told them the package did not need a personal escort and left. The U.S. postal service took the package and I paid $42. The package arrived safe and sound. I immediately thought of all our citizens trying to mail care packages to Iran and Afghanistan. The U.S. Postal service is efficient and gets the job done for the lower cost.

When my son moved to Massachusetts from Rhode Island he moved from a semi-rural town to Cambridge, Mass. His auto insurance went down hundreds of dollars. Why? How could this be? Simple; the state of Massachusetts regulates the insurance companies (the few that agree to write insurance there) and the companies are held accountable. In Rhode Island, it's free market all of the way, and boy do we pay for it. Another side note: in Massachusetts the insurance companies are required to pay for any broken windshield. Not in Rhode Island, I've had to replace 3 because of our shitty roads.

Massachusetts, affectionately called Taxachusetts by the people that hate government is now projected to be leading the way out of the current recession. Many indicators are showing that Massachusetts never fell as far behind as most states and the recovery here is ahead of most states. Maybe the heavy hand of government is gently helping the people?

I do have a recommendation for a health care public option though. This is not my idea in its entirety as I heard one legislator outline something similar, but I can't remember who it was. I can't even remember whether the legislator was a Republican of Democrat, but I do remember thinking - that's a great idea! Simply put; the public insurance should kick in for catastrophic circumstances. If you define catastrophic illness as reaching a $100,000 threshold within a given period of time, the government would then assume the insurance and relieve the insurance company.

This would be a windfall for insurance companies, but the government should then insist on a commensurate reduction in premiums for their insured. This reduction would save all buyers of insurance as well as all business. This plan would provide a real shot in the arm for everyone struggling with today's costs. The government could hold the insurance companies feet to the fire by threatening to increase the catastrophic threshold if they don't respond by significantly reducing health care premiums. Business would not back away from health insurance commitments to employees because they could see their own bottom lines improving.

How do you pay for it? Repeal the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans as Obama has suggested. Additionally, tie taxation rates on the drug companies to an index that follows their cost of medications in the United States as compared to the identical medications in foreign nations. One of two things will happen; either the cost of medications will drop dramatically in this country or the government will enjoy a huge windfall to pay for citizens with catastrophic illness.

Do it Democrats! Do it now! Forget the Republicans; don't you know that the first word that a baby likes to use is "No"! Sounds familiar; No. Where have I heard that lately? I guess from some baby somewhere!



  1. Thanks: I'll be on more frequently this fall.

  2. Someone has asked the question; the plan you suggest would not get everyone insured? Well, everyone would be protected against catastrophic illness. Everyone would be insured at that catastrophic level. I agree that many would still remain without insurance. The lower cost for premiums would make buying insurance far more affordable and employees would be more likely to provide a basic coverage. My suggestion is a step into the future. Truth be known, I favor a single payer system - I'm a progressive! With any major social change, you do need to take one step at a time or you fall flat on your face.

  3. Very interesting post.
    Have a nice day.