Prior to our power-driven politicians adopting an untested and badly flawed health insurance plan that would hurt the average citizen’s quality of care and very possibly bankrupt the country, I would urge they walk before they run.
Why not formulate three different experimental approaches to health care reform? There could be the Democrats’ command-and-control plan, the Republicans’ free-market based plan, and a compromise version. To test the plans’ efficacy, three or more states could implement these respective plans on a state level. The federal government would underwrite all net costs for the participating states to implement the plans on a trial demonstration basis for at least four years. An independent, bi-partisan commission could then evaluate the outcomes of the trials and recommend a single national health care reform plan to the Congress.
Note: While I’m not thrilled about adopting the Democrats’ plan in even a single state, better that an actual trial in but one state clearly proves how bad the plan really is than risking the Democrats’ saddling the whole country with it.
The states might also be invited to submit their own reform plans for consideration by an independent commission and possible matching funds underwriting by the feds. This could hopefully enable a wide variety of approaches to be tested, all with the idea of better ensuring the prospect of true and effective reform down the road.
My own preference would be to essentially keep the system we’ve got while federally subsidizing private health insurance plans for those folks needing help, but who must qualify by meeting reasonable wellness standards. The standards could be waived in special cases. Personally I resent my tax dollars being used to subsidize health insurance for obese individuals, smokers and others whose medical problems are largely due to unhealthy lifestyles. This would simply encourage more unhealthy behavior, which is a major factor in making the whole system less affordable for nearly all of us. Unless we also put in place a massive health prevention program and strong economic incentives (i.e. lower insurance premiums) to adopt a healthy lifestyle, we’ll never be able to fix the present system no matter what else we do.
One crucial element of any prevention program must be mandatory daily aerobic exercise and nutritional instruction programs in all K-12 schools. Just as students should meet academic standards before going from grade to grade so should they meet fitness standards.