Saturday, October 17, 2009

Community Health Plan

There are ways to use health coverage plans themselves to lower costs, add to competition, but leave the government out of directly offering these health plans. My design is called the Community Health Plan. I have been working on these for sometime, and while I am going to leave most of the specific details for the book, I believe i can outline the workings and advantages here. The plan would be anchored by a local full service hospital. Preferably it would be the local hospital that was already providing most of the services to the uninsured for that given community. They would offer a subscription plan for a very affordable price. The pricing would look something like one third the monthly going rate for health insurance in the same area. A small part of the fee would go to a reinsurance pool to cover health care needs when traveling away from the hospital locale, and another part would apply towards a government subsidized umbrella policy to cover unexpectedly large outlays or catastrophic illnesses. The rest of the monthly fee would go directly to the hospital system offering the plan, providing them much needed cash flow and some contribution towards the cost of caring for these people. The government would provide funds to help support these plans in the way they provide funds now to hospitals serving the uninsured, but with an anticipated reduction in these amounts. If people see the plans are a good fit and value, enough of the public will subscribe to potentially erase any deficits these hospitals use to face from caring for the uninsured. Since the government would provide guarantees for the reinsurance umbrella policies, these could be offered by traditional insurers. To encourage people to purchase plans including these, seek out care earlier and take preventative health measures, the current 7.5% floor before these expenses are deductible would be removed from the tax code. This limit was imposed during the Reagan administration and only hurt the middle class because they are the ones who will base health care decisions on costs. the rich can afford the care, the poor have government coverage, the working poor and illegal uninsured s simply do without the care. Now, everyone from working poor to middle class could afford a good plan, and would have the government helping them afford to purchase it and receive care. By offering all of this, at least it would be a more fair and reasonable proposition that the current health reform plan does not include an affordable government option, does not require employers to offer coverage and requires a fine for people who do not purchase coverage.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Health Care Reform...hardly reform, but baby steps are better than none....

It is looking more and more like Government initiated health care reform is coming. That is, possibly, good news. It will cover, hopefully, all Americans. If it does, that will be its only real reform achievement. It basically leaves the system as it is, puts in more price caps and allows for buying cooperatives to get coverage through group buying power. All decent ideas but nothing that will improve or change a system that is rife with abuse, excess costs, poor governance and inconsistent standard. Cost caps can unfairly hurt some good practices and agencies. Pay for performance can help improve systems, if there are requisite education and helpful tools made available to those organization that struggle with improving their quality of care. The most bizarre and idiotic health care ideas, such as the Republicans calling for the ability to purchase insurance across state lines...were blissfully left out. If I were able, I had a good post for that idea. I've been involved with health insurers in the past. The reason health insurance is so much cheaper in a place like Utah, is because it is cheaper to get care in Utah! If you allow New Yorkers, with some of the highest insurance and care costs in the country, to buy coverage from Utah, and then get care in NY, you would eventually drive up the cost of Utah insurance much closer to NY's. All you would accomplish with that poorly thought out nonsense is to hurt citizens of Utah. Unless you don't like Utah, why would you do that?
I propose a lot of things, some written about here before, that would fundamentally alter the cost structure of health care, now and going forward, increase competition for health plans with agencies better able to deliver quality yet cost-effective care than the insurers who often pay for it now and try to manage the care with new cost layers of review and management. In the coming days and weeks I will review what i have already proposed here, and offer a lot of new material that I have been working on. In the longer run, once a minimum plan of reform is implemented, I believe we will run into many of our past problems if we do not take the current opportunity of the drive for reform, to truly improve our system. And I mean improve. I have said here many times before...I like our system, but we need to fix it to keep it!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I see LHWRITES is back.

I am glad to see that. I have been bored because not a lot of bloggers are so in need of assistance that they will give me such a prominent role. They shun me from the spotlight, but as we have seen---they utilize my special skills behind the scenes. Here is quite the opposite. I get the spotlight---I appear right in the blog---but my special skills are not used to enhance the prominence of the blog or increase its hits. Thus you have had, for some years now, a fine blog that no one knows about! Keep up the good work LHWRITES! With a little more effort perhaps you will be the only one reading this.... Ha Ha

I'm Baaacckk!!!!!!

Hi Everyone,
I have been on hiatus, forced by a variety of issues, and trying to finish my piece on Health Care Reform before it is rendered irrelevant by current events. I wish to be a part of the process not a hindsight quarterback. A lot of work and effort has been put into that the last few months and I will begin posting the fruits of my labor as well as my thoughts and discoveries here. Stay Tuned!