WASHINGTON - In a dramatic show of physician support for deeper health reform – and for making a decisive break with the private insurance model of financing medical care – 2,231 physicians called today [Thursday, May 5] for the creation of a publicly financed, single-payer national health program that would cover all Americans for all medically necessary care.
One of the ways to fix health care would be to combine the free market, personal responsibility, and Medicare.
To accomplish this, let us keep more of the money we pay, or our employer pays, for our health insurance. Why does our employer or why do we give 100% of our monthly premiums to health insurance companies who then decide which treatment they will pay for with our money? Not only do insurance companies receive 100% of our premiums (often $20,000+ per employee annually) we (the patient) also pay large co-pays and office visits payments. Could we create a system where employers send 50% of employees’ health care premiums to their employees’ health care savings account (HSA) and 50% to a new version of Medicare (coverage for everyone not just the elderly) instead of giving 100% of our premiums to health insurance companies?
Using the 50/50 health care plan, health care costs would be reduced, risks could be managed, and everyone would be covered. There would be no disagreements with insurance companies over services or payments. Patients and doctors would decide the treatment that is necessary and the patient would pay for the services through either their HSA or if their HSA was depleted then payment would be through the new Medicare. This would encourage more patient engagement and responsible behavior, and better patient-doctor relationships. The payments would be as easy as sliding your HSA card (like a credit card or ATM card) through a card reader at doctor’s offices. The payment would be made and you would receive a printout/text/email of the services, the costs, and the remaining balance in your HSA.
Currently, if you lose your job, then you might pay enormous sums under Obamacare to afford health care or become part of Medicaid (if you are poor enough) or Medicare (if you are old enough) programs. It would be helpful to have a HSA to draw upon when unemployed in addition to Medicare and Medicaid. For example, if the health insurance premiums your employer pays for you cost $20,000 annually and you worked for 30 years, then you could potentially have $300,000 ($20,000/2 * 30) in a health savings account. HSAs would be portable and preventative care would be paid through the 50% that goes to the new Medicare. The new Medicare would also cover the indigent or others who do not have and/or have depleted their HSAs with the 50% of the premium Medicare would receive in addition to the current payroll taxes that go to Medicare. This would also help shore-up Medicare.
In the early 1990s health insurance companies converted from not-for-profit companies to for profit companies traded on Wall Street. Ever since the conversion health insurance costs have skyrocketed and health insurance stocks have been some of the best performers on Wall Street. Health insurance executives are some of the best paid executives too.
Do we even need health insurance companies? Health insurance companies are raising premiums, raising co-pays, lowering coverage, and lowering reimbursements for health care providers because health insurance executives seem more worried about making money for themselves and their shareholders than using our money to pay for our health care needs.
Furthermore, the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare requires everyone to purchase health care coverage from the same health insurance companies who have gotten us into this mess. If the government can require everyone to buy health insurance, then the government should regulate the health insurance companies by banning health insurance companies from being traded on Wall Street and mandating that health insurance executives/employees may not be paid more than $1 million per person annually. Obamacare should not be a windfall for insurance companies and their employees.
Health insurance companies, in the end, obstruct health care. Not only do they take our money with a promise to pay if we are sick or injured, when the time comes, they often refuse to pay. Health insurance companies have numerous excuses for not paying while at the same time charging a small ransom to be covered under their health plan.
Under my health care plan when you reach 75, you can use your HSA as a supplement to your pension or 401k. This would encourage everyone to take great care of themselves.
We pay into the health insurance companies for years and then when we need care the health insurance fight us for our own money to pay for our care. We need to go in a new direction for health care coverage that does not include the greedy, unnecessary middle man/insurance companies. My health care plan eliminates the middle man so patients and doctors can engage directly with each other for better health care and at a lower cost.