Sunday, November 15, 2009

Logical Healthcare Reform...I know crazy sounding right?

In the last few days, the political body that monitors and studies Medicare and Medicaid announced that their study of the current House bill for healthcare reform could potentially cost our nation hundreds of billions of dollars over the coming decades. Specifically, the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) announced on Saturday that they predict the House bill will INCREASE health spending by $289 billion by 2019 and healthcare will cost 21.1% of our GDP (compared to 20.8% currently). Among their findings includes some of the following:
1. The Public Plan will likely cost 4% more than private plans
2. 3million more Americans will be covered by their Employers because while 15 million more should be covered, many employers will shift 12 million of those Americans to the Public Plan to save costs.
3. 18 million people will likely remain uninsured and choose instead to pay federal fines.
4. The Bill would base Medicare payments to hospitals based on performance/productivity which could drive many hospitals to not accept Medicare.
5. The healthcare system could be severly strained by the massive influx of newly insured patients.

Obviously, several officials at the White House are challenging parts of this analysis and to be honest all analysis' should be looked at not as certainties but as possibilities..but there is likely some truth to this report and this just proves what I've been bothered about by this whole process..too fast and too one-sided to be the most logical type of reform. I've discussed in a previous blog on how Congress should have handled healthcare reform but I didn't go into a great bit of detail because I hadn't done enough research to be more confident in my observations but now that I've further explored both Republican, Democrat and Independent ideas on reform I'm offering a new and improved analysis:

As with my first ideas, I believe the Healthcare system should be reformed by several separate but independent bills. This way if only one or two of the bills make it through they will still help drive down costs somewhat (better some reform than none).
1st bill - Outlaw practices such as disqualifying people for pre-existing conditions and dropping people when they become sick. Also, remove the Insurance Companies Anti-Trust exemption. However, I do think the idea of being able to buy insurance across statelines in a possible compromise in this bill (if independent studies show it would drive down costs).

2nd bill - Limited Tort Reform (to maintain patients rights to protect themselves from malpractice) Case Study on Wellness programs' effectiveness on reducing costs (they sound good on paper but with people living longer preventative care will become more expensive).

3rd bill - Create a Public Option for those who can't afford private health insurance (largely targeted at basic services so private insurance will remain viable) and instead of an Opt-Out (in which state has to vote to exclude itself out of the program after it's created) let it be an Opt-In inwhich each state would choose to include itself in the Federal program by each legislative action or voter initiative.

Now this is a fairly logic approach with bits of reform from each side and I think would likely be reform Americans could get behind but sadly I fear such a Logical approach is a seemingly lost art in Congress these days..what happened to the days when the President could reach out not only to his own party but to the other major party (LBJ and Reagan come to mind)...has partisan politics become so great that simple cooperation is now considered political suicide? Sad times we live in friends..

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