As do all Americans, the citizens of Pennsylvania need rational reform of our healthcare system, but not what our representatives are pushing. The Democrats want either to give away too much for too little or are hopelessly fighting amongst themselves. The Republicans, on the other hand, are stonewalling and are only a hindrance. In any event, the current bills in our Congress are so hopelessly politicized, watered down, and overpriced as to be worse than useless. There are many options for rational healthcare reform, but Congress seems too embroiled to attend to them.
We need a public plan healthcare option for all Americans. It needs to be a non-profit enterprise that gives each of us the option of purchasing coverage from it, on an income adjusted basis. If the biggest holdup on enacting healthcare reform is the fear of losing the private insurers, and whatever “choice” they give us, then please consider the following.
We could establish a non-profit public option health plan based on an improved Medicare and allow it to be administered by several of the current private insurers in each locality. Plan benefits and provider pay would be set across each geographic region by the system and could not be varied by the local plan administrators. These local public plan administrators would be charged with improving the health of their average enrollee and with making the system more safe and efficient with the results being compared across the whole system. If they are successful, they would save substantial sums of money over a few years, compared to current costs, and could then be allowed to keep a reasonable portion of that money as profit. They would no longer be allowed to increase their profits at the expense of patients and providers. Those systems with the biggest improvement in their client’s health would save the most money, and thereby be the most profitable. The poorest performing local administrators could be rotated out of the public plan administration to allow a new local administrator to have a shot.
A plan such as this would allow true competition in healthcare for the first time. It would not only force competition between these plan administrators for improvement in patient’s health, but also encourage them to develop ways to improve the efficiencies of providers as well as the system as a whole. For the first time, healthcare delivery profits would be dependent on healthcare outcomes.
Please contact your Congressional representatives. The President is asking for input and now is the time to give him something rational. I would love to speak to him, if anyone has any influence. Rational healthcare reform is not complicated, but it easily lends itself to false information and representation. For more details and options, see the Web site, OurHealthReform.com. If we, as individuals and voters, do not take control of this healthcare reform process, then we will be leaving it to our Congress and we will deserve what we get. Remember, they wrote the Federal Income Tax Code. If you are happy with that monstrosity, you will love the new healthcare bill.
Mark E. Green MD