To both houses of congress, an open invitation: use this one instead. Please, read it first (if you do indeed know how to read). It won't take long, you can probably get it done before some lobbyist wants to take you to lunch today.
WHEREAS these United States of America were founded upon principles of liberty and freedom, and WHEREAS free market principles and capitalism have propelled this nation to its position as the only remaining superpower, and
WHEREAS this position of worldwide dominance is now threatened by excessive and ill-conceived government regulations in many sectors, including health care, which inhibit or restrict the actions of free markets in our nation, let it be
RESOLVED that the current "third party payer system" be abolished through the following actions:
1) Beginning today, it is unlawful for a provider of health care services to bill a "third party" for health care services. Payment should be collected from the person or person who received the services.
1a. Recipients of health care services are encouraged to carry health insurance. Benefits claims and reimbursement will be the sole responsibility of the recipient, not the health care provider.
2) Beginning today, it is unlawful for a provider of health care services to contract with a "third party" regarding the price of health care services.
2a. Recipients of health care services may contract with providers individually, or may do so as groups (such as groups of employees, communities, or neighborhoods). Insurers or other "third party payers" may not negotiate prices or conditions on behalf of health care recipients.
2b. Recipients of health care services may contract and negotiate individually or as groups with insurers regarding reimbursement amounts, premiums, and other terms of insurance.
3) Beginning today, the law requiring health care providers to provide emergency medical services to people, regardless of ability to pay (EMTALA law), is repealed. Individuals who choose to be uninsured do so at their own peril.
3a. Providers of health care services are encouraged to provide charity care to individuals who cannot afford it, but this decision is left to the discretion of the service provider.
3b. Local and state governments are encouraged to provide and administer funds for needed health care for the truly indigent, or for those in the income "gap" between Medicaid eligibility and insurable income. This will, in no way, be a responsibility within the jurisdiction of the federal government.
WHEREAS the current dual system of "individual" and "group" health insurance, each with separate rules, is patently inherently unfair, let it further be
RESOLVED that the laws governing these two separate types of insurance coverage be repealed, effective immediately, to be replaced with the following common sense initiatives:
1) There are no special protections for the underwriting of certain "groups." Premiums are individual.
2) With regard to "pre-existing" or current health conditions, underwriting for the purpose of premium assignment may be based upon health conditions which have been duly proven to be directly resultant from the choices or actions of individuals. Conversely, no pre-existing or current health condition may be considered in the underwriting process that has not been duly proven to result from the choices or actions of individuals. For example, a current or prior smoker may be assigned higher premiums since this choice is well proven to lead to worse health, but having Huntington disease (or having this genetic condition in the family) may not be considered in the underwriting process. Similarly, BMI may be considered, but age alone may not.
2a. Which conditions may be considered and which may not in the underwriting process will be determined by a panel of medical experts who are independent from and not to be governed or influenced by any branch of government. Their decisions will be subject to peer review, debate, and appeal, and will be reconsidered on a regular basis.
WHEREAS entitlement programs including Medicaid and, to a lesser extent, Medicare, are costing the American people more than they can afford, and
WHEREAS these programs do not do enough to encourage individual accountability for health and the use of health care resources, let it be
RESOLVED that the costs for these programs be reigned in through the following measures:
1) Medicaid recipients will be issued a series of vouchers at the beginning of each year. These vouchers will serve as currency for "copays" which will be required whenever health care services are sought.
1a. Visits to a primary care provider will "cost" 1 voucher, visits to specialists will cost 2 vouchers, visits to the emergency room will cost 4 vouchers. Recipients who have vouchers remaining at the end of each year will be allowed to redeem them (for cash, cell phone minutes, or Nascar tickets; that will be left up to the States to decide).
1b. Recipients who either run out of vouchers, or show up somewhere seeking care without one, may still be cared for, but will not be eligible for a refund.
2) Medicare recipients will not be eligible for benefits until age 70. Minimum age for eligibility will be adjusted based on changes in life expectancy, every 5 years.
There you have it. It's short enough that you can print a copy for everybody. Let's try something like this, then let these changes percolate through the system for about five years, and then institute further changes or regulations only as needed, allowing free market principles, capitalism, and free enterprise work their unique magic on "the system."
Since I began this series, it has become apparent that the liberals currently in power intend to pass some kind, any kind, of health care overhaul legislation. It has become glaringly obvious that they don't care so much about the actual content, or even whether it will "fix" the ailing, bloated industry. What these people want, and seemed intent to get, is control over a major American industry. Let's hope that, when all is said and done, common sense and some well-proven principles of American industry will win out over this insanity.