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Health care solutions

Updated on August 9, 2010

Health care cost

Health care solutions

Health care in the United States is the best in the world. The problem is the cost of health care. I hope to look at some ideas that will help reduce the cost of health care in the United States. Before I do that, one thing that we must keep in mind is that we get what we pay for. In other words, we must realize that we will have to pay something for health care, we just shouldn't be paying as much as we are currently.

The first thing that should be done is the members of Congress should have the same health care as the citizens of the United States. That move right should assure us that health care costs will stay under control.

If you are a liberal, I may get you riled up with this next comment so brace yourself. A key ingredient to the long term solution to health care costs as well as other issues in the United States is simply to post the Ten Commandments in public buildings and teach them in schools. Here is why. The Constitution of the United States was written based on the Ten Commandments. The founders of the country realized that in order for a free country to be successful, everyone needed to have strong morals and there was no better place to find morals than in the Ten Commandments. I am not suggesting that we teach or force Christianity on anyone, but we do need to understand the Ten Commandments, what they mean and that they were the basis of the founding of our country.

Now for the solutions that can be implemented and results seen more quickly.

There needs to be tort reform. If there are limits to how much someone can win in a lawsuit and also whoever loses a lawsuit is responsible for court costs, this should reduce the lawsuits against doctors. If the risk of doctors being sued is reduced, then their malpractice insurance rates will go down. If their insurance rates go down, they will be able to pass that reduction on to the patient. Doctors will also not have to run as many tests to protect themselves from lawsuits. This again will reduce the cost of health care.

HSA's and high deductible insurance needs to be encouraged. Let's look at an example. If John Doe is 22 years old and just out of college. He has an HSA with a $5,000 per year deductible. His premium is $100 per month. He decides to gamble and only put $200 per month into his HSA. Because he is healthy, he only averages spending $400 per year on insurance. At the end of the year, he still has $2,000 left in his HSA. He rolls that over into a Mutual Fund. He is healthy and does that for the next 40 years. He is now sitting with $80,000 (not counting interest or inflation) in an HSA. If his HSA is earning 6% over inflation, at the age of 62 he is now earning $4,800 in interest which is basically enough to cover his annual deductible. At age 62 he will be able to retire and only have his monthly insurance premium to pay. I know you are saying that this is great for a healthy 22 year old but what about a 40 or 50 year old? There will be a gap for those of us that are older where we will still have to pay a little extra, but it will still be less expensive than what is currently available.

One advantage of the HSA and high deductible is that people will no longer be running to the doctor every time they have a runny nose. They will also shop around which will create a competition between doctors and consequently lower prices. And they will keep a closer eye on what they are getting charged for which will help keep the doctors in line.

Insurance companies should be able to compete across state lines. The health insurance plan that Congress has allows this, why can't the average citizen also have this? Once again, this will create competition and reduce premiums.

There are many elements to the illegal alien problem that need to be addressed, but as far as health care is concerned, there is a fairly simple solution. The Fair Tax. The Fair Tax eliminates the federal income tax, social security tax and medicare tax. It is replaced with a national sales tax. That means anyone that enters the country illegally will still be paying taxes when they buy stuff. Those taxes will be used to help fund the health care they get when they go to emergency rooms.

The last suggestion is for those with pre-existing conditions and the elderly. Well, to be honest, the only solution I have for pre-existing conditions is a government law. As far as the elderly, I heard an idea about term health insurance. This would work similar to term life insurance. The only problem here is that these would have to be long terms. If we look at the example I used earlier and use the life insurance terms, the 22 year would get a 30 year term to take him to 52. then he would take another 30 year term to get him to 82. So far so good, but at age 82 his premiums would be very high. If they had 40 or 50 year terms available, he could easily cover himself until he was around 100. Of course, this means I am suggesting getting rid of medicare. It would be phased out.


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    • Art West profile image

      Art West 8 years ago from Indiana

      Thanks for the comment Ralph.

      I don't think currently leftover HSA's can be rolled over into mutual funds. That is an incentive that needs to be addressed. HSA's should be able to be rolled over into Mutual Funds tax free and handled similar to IRA's or 401k's.

      As far as phasing out Medicare, I realize that will never happen. It would very difficult politically to get rid of Medicare as well as Social Security.

      The public option that is being discussed would eventually completely eliminate private health care. A government run health care would not only take away our freedom but would not be very efficient. Just look at all of the government programs and how "successful" they are.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      I wasn't aware that unused portions of HSAs can be rolled over into a mutual fund. When you say "rolled over," does that mean that taxes on the amount rolled over are avoided?

      I heard a Congressman yesterday discussing the "public option." He suggested that the simplest solution would be just to allow anyone who chose to do so enroll in Medicare and pay a premium. Or they could keep their private health care insurance policy. Or I suppose they might be given the option of buying a private Medigap policy to supplement their Medicare coverage.

      I completely agree with your opinion that health care insurance should carry high deductibles. I've always had high deductible car and homeowners insurance. The purpose of insurance should not be to pay bills that you can afford to pay. It should provide coverage for huge, budget busting bills which are not uncommon today in health care. As I'm sure you know, medical and hospital bills are the largest single cause of bankruptcy in this country.

      Phasing out Medicare is a non-starter, politically, and as far as I'm concerned. I'm covered by Medicare and it has worked fine for me. Better cost controls are needed, in my opinion, but phasing it out would be a mistake.