Saturday, July 11, 2009

Health Care Plan

I've been to Canada a number of times. Canadians are friendly and polite. Toronto is one of the world's great cities. A solid capitalist economy - I've owned the Canadian Ishares for a long time.

But, I'll stay with my health care plan, thank you very much.

There are a number of things we can do to cover more Americans with a health plan, without having the folks who run the IRS take over customer service for health.

First, millions of the "uninsured" actually work for companies that offer coverage but they don't take it. Presumably they believe they can't afford it. Well, let's make it mandatory: if you work for a company that offers coverage, you have to take it. We will need some rules. For example, most companies aim for a 70/30 or 80/20 split. That is, the company pays 70% to 80% of the cost, and the employee pays the difference (generally up to some kind of a stop loss level). So, all companies would have to get their plans up to that level. And, we'd have to stop letting states and cities require all kinds of insurance goodies - e.g. the plan must cover Viagra, or breast implants, or whatever. Just good dependable basic medical coverage.

Second, we can create a national stop loss program with a payroll tax. So, just like Social Security, every worker and every employer have to pay one percent of pay into an insurance program. Whatever level of stop loss coverage that could buy from the major reinsurance companies. As an example, if that two percent pool can purchase a policy for each American covering claims over $500,000, then that is what is purchased. So, for the really costly medical procedures such as transplants, premature babies, debilitating car wrecks and so on, would be covered by insurance once the claim mounts to that level. That, in turn, allows the insurer of the basic coverage to know their maximum exposure.

Let's try some of these basic steps before we blow up everything we have today.

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