Health Insurance Reform

The following is an opinion piece by VTLP member Travis Spencer:

So as we all know healthcare is a huge topic. Many people I talk to always ask what would you do, how would you change it. Below is how I would blow up and reform Health Insurance because really that is the debate, not access to care but paying for it.

Hope you enjoy and I encourage feedback and dialogue.

Steps for Health Insurance Reform

First off we have the best health care system in the world. The issue is not access to healthcare or quality of care it is cost. Regardless if you have insurance or not you can get medical care. If it is an emergency you can go to the ER if it is an annual check -up you can make an appointment and go. We are a nation of folks who spend thousands on a vacation but complain about a $50 co-pay to take care of ourselves. So let’s have an honest debate that healthcare isn’t the issue it is Health Insurance reform that we need. The following is how I would blow up the current system and start fresh.

• Remove the Employer-Employee Health Insurance Relationship. We are trained that we need to find a job that offers good health insurance. This is a concept that needs to change; individuals need to be responsible for their own coverage. Our employer doesn’t take care of our auto or home insurance so why health. If an employer wants to offer a subsidy to its employees to offset the cost that is fine and can help the employer attract workers but the Employer should not be responsible for finding insurance and administering the plan.

• Individuals should have access to insurance across state lines. Again we can buy our auto or home on-line from multiple companies so Health Insurance should be the same. Also you should have more flexibility in the type of plan you choose. For instance men or women who don’t want kids shouldn’t have to have maternity coverage. You should have the ability to tailor a plan around your needs, with multiple levels of co-pays and deductibles. These steps will lower the cost.

• Give everyone access to Health Savings Accounts. Putting away money to offset any future healthcare expense is a smart idea. Making these plans available to all and allowing the growth to be tax free is even better. This also can be a benefit offered by employers to attract employees.

• Create tax breaks to offset the cost of the insurance plans based on income. If the government is so concerned about access to insurance give people a tax incentive to purchase it.

• We need Tort Reform. Liability Insurance cost are outrageous and with student loans, rent and insurance cost a Physician is losing money before they even turn the office lights on. We need tort reform so the cost of doing business for doctors comes down.

• With individuals in charge of their own insurance they also need to take more responsibility in the healthcare. We need to encourage shopping of procedure prices. Again when we go on vacation we shop for the best hotel or air fare rate but we blindly go to the doctor without knowing the cost in advance. We need to allow doctors to advertise prices and also allow cash discounts which are similar in many other businesses.

People are more concerned when they have a vested interest in things. We need to create that atmosphere with health insurance. Personal responsibility is a great thing and if we can motivate people to take better care of themselves and spend more time on their own well being we will all be better off. If you don’t want to do that fine but you must pay for your lifestyle. All this can be done without the government running anything and individuals will win because they have the freedom to live how they see fit.

Travis Spencer
Milton, Vermont

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