Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Real solutions to the 'healthcare crisis'

I have written before how I'm not convinced there really is a healthcare crisis. I wrote about that here. Likewise, when you consider that over 200 million Americans have healthcare, and over 80% of them are happy, it makes one wonder why all the talk about a crisis.

Then you have to add in that 45 million are without health insurance, although only 12% of that 45 million are individuals who actually don't have healthcare insurance and want it. So to say crisis is to scare people into accepting the current healthcare bill proposed before Congress; to scare people into believing Congress must do something.

They tell us that doing something is better than doing nothing. Yet doing something stupid is far worse than doing nothing.

That said, here are some alternative free market solutions to the "health care crisis":
  1. Improve competition by eliminating government regulations that prevent health insurance companies from competing across state lines. This would allow for lower prices across the board and consumers in one state to seek the best insurance at the lowest cost regardless of where the company is located. This was done in Texas and prices have been lowered dramatically.
  2. Provide tax breaks to any health insurance company that accepts consumers with pre-existing conditions. The companies that take on the risk should be rewarded.
  3. Provide tax breaks or vouchers to any company who insures low income people. This will provide an incentive to companies to get more people insured.
  4. Tort reform. Make a law limiting the amount of money people who sue doctors and nurses can get. This would lower the cost of insurance for hospitals and doctors, and increase the incentive to take on difficult cases. It would also work to decrease the number of procedures ordered just to keep the doctor from being sued. Billions of dollars are spent yearly on procedures ordered not to treat the patient but so the doctor doesn't get sued.
  5. There needs to be a reward system for physicians and medical institutions who go a specified amount of time without medical errors or malpractice behavior. This would be an incentive towards good health practice.
  6. Stop healthcare fraud and abuse. $200 billion a year is lost due to this, or 10% of all the money we spend on healthcare. We need to come up with a plan to end medicare and medicaid abuse. One of the best solutions to this would be an electronic trail.
  7. Elimination of capital gains taxes on people who invest in the health industry. This will spur investment and result in more quality choices. It will also increase the chance people will take a risk in the health care field. According the the Center for Health Transformation, this will result in better healthcare solutions at lower costs. This would also encourage investment and research in medical equipment that will make the American healthcare system even better.
  8. We need to create a tax incentive for all Americans to visit their doctor each year for a wellness check and preventative therapies. Likewise, health insurance companies need to come up with real incentives to consumers who eat right, exercise and don't lead a life of self destruction.
  9. The choice of all of the above should be left to intelligent consumers. Only the consumer can make the healthcare system better, not the government. The government can only make it worse. The governmet serves a role, but the people are smarter than the government. The government, therefore, must have a monitoring role, but not as a nanny.
  10. Allow individuals, small businesses, and trade associations to pool together and acquire health insurance at lower prices, the same way large corporations and labor unions do.

Feel free to add your solutions in the comments below.

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