Hal Scherz

There has been unprecedented negativity surrounding healthcare for more than three years. Much like our combat missions overseas, Americans are growing weary of this issue. They have been fed a steady diet of rhetoric from the left and right and are confused about what to believe, but polls indicate that the majority of Americans wish to see the Affordable Care Act repealed. The entire country is anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court decision, which will determine what comes next for healthcare.

What if we could magically erase everything and start again? What would we do to make a healthcare system that would work for the majority of Americans? Doing so would entail tackling the same problems that President Obama claimed to be solving, but failed miserably at- high costs and problems with access to care. But it would take more than this. It would be necessary to re-establish personal responsibility- in the case of healthcare, connecting people with their healthcare decisions and the financial implications of these decisions.

First we would need health insurance reform, which is not only possible in a free market system; it is essential. Allowing individuals to shop for their healthcare insurance over the internet will result in a market driven economy with a concomitant drastic fall in premiums. This will be facilitated by removing the unnecessary state mandates that insurance policies must contain in order to be sold.

If instead, people were allowed to add on provisions that they might need such as a young couple who might need maternity coverage, then a healthcare policy could be customized to suit your needs. Purchasing a health savings account and a high deductible plan compels the patients to assume more control over how healthcare dollars are spent because suddenly, they are connected to the financial implications of the healthcare decisions that they make.

When patients demonstrate healthy behaviors, such as weight management and exercise, then health insurance premiums go down. Patients who are smokers or who are obese, will pay higher premiums. What if you could purchase your own insurance policy and get the same tax benefit as does your employer? This would free you from undesirable employment without losing your health insurance.

Hal Scherz

Dr. Hal Scherz is the Chief of Urology at Scottish Rite Children's Hospital in Atlanta and Secretary of the Docs 4 Patient Care Foundation.