Thursday, April 20, 2017

Talking Points: Health Care

This is the current hot topic for much of America and the issue is not going away.  Democrats lost a lot of seats because it did not go far enough to resolve peoples issues. Republicans (especially the Freedom Caucus and Conservatives) seem to think people want to go back to the old system.  This is not true.
·         People want quality Health Care that is also affordable.
·         Insurance based solutions cannot achieve this as they are trying to make money by paying as little as possible while charging as much as the market or laws allow. This does not make them evil, its just good business. However what is good for an insurance company is often bad for the patient and the doctor.
·         With Republicans in charge of the Legislative and Executive Branch whatever happens will be on them.  Blaming any failure on Obama Care or Democrats will not pass the sniff test. For Republicans not to take the same backlash the Democrats did they need to come up with something that the majority of Americans like and prefer.
·         The last effort would have wound up costing millions of Americans more for less and I doubt the CBO not even take all factors into account. For example medical costs would significantly increase because of the extra overhead. Minimum standard and mandated plans let medical providers know in general what would and would not be covered. Removing those will add to their workload as they have to work harder to determine what will or will not be covered.
·         Single Payer is gaining popular support and though I opposed it in the past I feel it is the only way forward. The VA health system and Medicare are examples of how it can work.  As a disabled vet with a service related disability in Oklahoma I have found the VA system good enough, though it has gotten worse after going to TriCare.
·         The preponderance of evidence indicates health care costs are significantly lowered for everyone as the purpose of the overhead switches from Insurance goals of how not to pay to Medical Providers goals of how best to help and Government goals of how best not to waste.
·         Repeal then Replace is not a winning option. The Republican Party had 7 years to come up with a plan and still failed to sell it to their own membership when they had a chance. How do you expect anyone to seriously believe you can come up with something in a year if you repeal first? It would wind up being a rush job so compromised and sloppy it makes no one happy. The backlash would be worse than anything you have yet seen.
·         The Affordable Care Act was not what President Oblama wanted, it is what he got after a year of compromise with both parties and lobbyists. It is dangerous to gamble your career and American lives that the Republican party can do better while still keeping insurance companies involved.
·         Raise income tax to pay for it. Sell it as “Now that medicare your paying for covers everyone, including you”.  Also this will remove the insurance payment most people see in their paycheck and lower out of pocket medical expenses such as co-pays and deductibles. The net effect on wages should be pretty close and as Health Care costs go down it should be better.
·         Promote that this lowers business costs and does not hamper small business from growing for fear of having to take on the added expenses of health Care.  Also healthier employees are more productive which is good for everyone.
·         Finally, keep Health Savings Accounts and allow them to roll over so Americans can use that for elective care, deductibles, or anything not covered.

·         Opposing arguments? Insurance companies and Big Pharma will oppose this. Some will oppose it saying government can’t run it well: Counter Argument: If government cannot run it well then they are incompetent and should not be running the country.  Some Conservatives say it should be a Free market thing: Counter Argument: Free market is based on competition and the idea that if you provide the best service or product at the best price you will thrive. That is laudable but only works when people have a choice, including the option to not purchase the product or service.  Medical care is not so optional and those who choose not to use it cost tax payers and health care providers when thy default on payments.  We have more medical based bankruptcies than any other reason which is a sign we have a real problem.

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