Thursday, July 16, 2009

Obama Care : Like Watching a Train Wreck

I am reading about Obama's newest plans for health care. The man won't quit. He keeps on writing checks when he knows the funds are not there. According to today's New York Post, Obama's proposal could drive the Empire State's highest tax bracket to 60%. The plan will create a government run health insurance plan to compete with existing private insurance. The New York Post describes Obamacare as follows.

"Each bill would create a new government health plan to compete against private insurers. In the House version, this "competition" would take place via a "national health insurance exchange," a new entity run by a "Health Choices Commissioner." In the Senate, a "public plan" would compete against private health plans through federally supervised state entities called "gateways."

Either way, taxpayers would assume the risks. The private plans would be heavily regulated by the government, but otherwise "on their own" -- in a highly qualified matter of speaking.

In the House bill, the government plan would pay doctors and hospitals on the basis of Medicare rates -- rates that are so low that more and more doctors have stopped taking new Medicare patients.

(The)bill would collect an estimated $818 billion in new taxes over 10 years.

There are many problems with this proposal. The most important is that it is burdening an already faltering economy with new taxes. Make no mistake about it. Businesses can pick up and cross state lines. And when people really get fed up, they can outsource overseas. For many people, health care is a real issue.Millions of Americans are uninsured. The price of health insurance has skyrocketed for various reasons such as the rising cost of malpractice suits.

Creating a new national health insurance bureaucracy will cost billions of dollars. There are already private insurance companies competing for business. Obama's plan throws the health insurance picture into chaos. It creates a huge body of new regulations. The unlimited source of tax dollars to fund folly is an assurance that costly mistakes will be made.

Most states have mandatory car insurance. But there is no government run insurance company for motor vehicles. The states regulate insurance but leave the administration up to the private companies. This principle should govern health insurance.

Companies that take good care of their employees deserve to be rewarded. A job that offers health insurance is a good job. It is good for the employee, and it is good for the government, because they don't end up with low paid workers being dumped in their lap.Companies that hire American workers and pay them well should get lots of tax breaks. Companies that outsource jobs and pay workers poorly should get less breaks.

There is one thing the government could intervene in. They could put a sensible cap on malpractice awards. If someone is crippled for life in an accident and gets a maximum payout that falls short of their needs, there could be a national safety net that would pay for their nursing home care or their round the clock nursing. Since these cases are a tiny minority of situations, the insurance companies could be relieved of some of the worst cases and focus on the more average needs of the majority of workers. There could even be a small disaster surcharge on insurance premiums that would be spread very thinly. This would remove objections to caps on malpractice settlements and make it easier to budget affordable insurance.

The other issue is health insurance portability. There should be insurance on health insurance so those who are laid off won't be put on the government's doorstep. People should be able to change from one company's plan to another without getting hung up about preexisting conditions. This is a matter for the government to iron out so private health insurance can deliver care economically.

Switzerland and Germany have state mandated health insurance that is privately administered. We should study how such plans work. Private insurers have done most of the spadework in creating health insurance. It is the height of wasteful folly to duplicate their efforts. The underlying philosophy of any health insurance should be that citizens and private business should be the first line of defense in the matter of health insurance and every other need that might concern a worker. The best social welfare program is a job. Even a bad, underpaid job is better than welfare. Those who create jobs should be rewarded and encouraged and not punished.

The only place the government should have to step up to the plate is at the scene of a disaster. If they step in before then, it will likely be a disaster by the time they finish. Sphere: Related Content

No comments: