Saturday, July 25, 2009

Real Health Care Reform

I keep hearing Nancy Pelosi (NP) and Barack Obama (BO) talk about how the American people want health care reform and they have the poll numbers to back it up. Sure, everyone wants health care reform and if you have a phone poll that asks the simple question, "Do you want health care reform," most people will say yes. If you ask, "Do you want government run and regulated health care," a majority of the people would say emphatically no.

I worked in health care for several years and saw first hand some of the waste. Here are a couple of things, I believe can be done that would fix the problem.

  1. Lawsuit tort reform - BO says he thinks people should have the right to sue negligent doctors. No one is going to disagree with him, but there has to be lawsuit reform. Lawyers are advertising left and right trying to get people to participate in lawsuits against doctors and hospitals. Turn on the TV some afternoon and you see several commercials in an hour asking, "Was your child born with cerebral palsy? If so, you may be able to receive compensation due to negligence on the part of your doctor." Make suing a doctor, hospital and any health care practitioner more difficult. Make the plaintiff's lawyers have to pony up the money if the lawsuit is found frivolous. Place caps on lawsuit rewards. Many times doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc. are following the recommendations that the various medical organizations have put in place for testing, procedures, etc. Placing caps on lawsuits for those healthcare providers that follow the recommendations will be a win win scenario for everyone. Doctors and hospitals will be able lower their costs because insurance fees will not be nearly as high. They will not have to play the Cover Your Ass game and perform multiple tests to get the same diagnosis. I know BO has recommended a government standard for tests, etc. and I really do not have a problem with it, although it is creating a bureaucracy where none is needed since all of the medical associations have these standards. If it will mean lawsuit caps, I am all for it, but you cannot set the standards unless you are going to set caps and penalize these lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits.

  2. Do a better job of going after Medicaid and Medicare fraud. On average, of all claims filed for Medicaid, 10% are fraudulently. That 10% is a low number as some states like Florida and California have seen as much as 20 - 30% depending upon the estimates. Between 3 - 20 % of Medicare spending is fraudulent. That is billions of dollars wasted yearly. Go after these people. Sometimes you have to spend money to make money, well in this case spend a little money to save a lot. Think of it as a safe; you have to buy the safe to store the money in. There is a reason that the government does not go after these people. If they did, they would have to put them in jail. I am also sure we would hear cries from various groups that it targets minorities, the poor, whatever. I do not care. Get the FBI, Secret Service, the police, whomever it takes, to go after these people. If they are small time, take away their Medicaid and fine them. If they are big time, freeze their assets and put them in jail. It is as simple as it sounds.

  3. Allow small businesses to group together as co-ops across state lines and have private insurance bid on their business. If you want make sure a lot of people have access to insurance, allow small businesses to get the group rates that are available. The more people that a group can bring to an insurance customer, the lower the price per person. This is simple and effective.

  4. Reward companies the promote healthy living. Many companies do things to promote healthy living. Many companies that self insure, will give insurance premium discounts to those employees who are non smokers. Reward companies that offer those plans. If you start rewarding companies for offering these types of perks, they will see the rewards of lower insurance bills, have healthier more efficient employees and will be more likely to invest more money into additional health programs.

These are four plans that I have come up with on my own. NP, BO and Harry Reid are all supposed to be such smart people. Why is it that all of their ideas require the government to run everything. Apply government regulation to those that look to profitize on malpractice, go after those that are abusing the system and reward those that want to offer insurance.

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