My kids love Special Agent Oso. For those that don’t know, he’s a little yellow bear that looks like this:
and for each episode he is given a problem to solve, and miraculously, is able to do so in “three simple steps”. These can range from tying his shoes, to throwing a ball, to eating with chopsticks. All vital skills, and ones that any small child should be aware. I will be using this principle to explain how to fix our healthcare woes (well, at least legislatively. I have other creative ideas that the private sector could do to decrease cost).
Three simple steps:
Step 1: Allow people to buy health insurance across state lines. That’s right. This isn’t actually possible right now. Ever wonder why your insurance card says Blue Cross / Blue Shield of Tennessee? That’s right. Except for some situations, most insurance companies are prohibited from doing this. Many folks only have a limited selection of options for their health care which limits competition, and increases cost. More competition for your business as the health care consumer, the better deal (and maybe customer service) you will get. Don’t believe me? Go take a look at your auto insurance.
Step 2: Let people freely associate. Your company gets a decent deal on health insurance because it can bring a large pool of buyers to the insurance company. Why is this only for businesses? Why can’t the civitan, BSA, or Methodists, or Agnostics, or cat lovers, or any random iteration of people grouping form an association to gain decreased cost for health coverage, that is not tied to a job? (While we’re at it, and this is only a private sector suggestion – companies out there reading my blog … and I know there are so many… stop buying the insurance, and provide the coverage as a voucher. Let me buy my own plan, and if you are going to pay “X” dollars, let me decide where I want it to go).
Step 3: Cover the uninsurables. Granted, this is the thing that gets most people about this issue. What about the people that can’t get affordable insurance? In my very humble opinion, options one and two might be enough reduction in regulation to make it possible for people who were previously uninsurable to actually get coverage. If that’s not enough, the alternative is simple. An independent study group can go back 20 years and looks at all the cases of insurance denials, and create a small, yet concise list of issues that would be “uninsurable” from a private sector. Then, once the diagnosis is confirmed by X number of independent practitioners, let the person qualify for medicaid or medicare. The number of people in that category is infinitesimal to the millions projected to be added to government insurance rolls once this new Act comes into full effect.
There you go. Sure it won’t solve all the problems, but it does a lot more in a lot fewer words than what we have staring us down now.