2013 Symposium: Healthcare Is Very Important. What Would Be A Way To Get American’s Covered Without Penalizing Them For Not Having Insurance Or Forcing Them To Enrollment In In Government Run Systems?

Cartwright: I don’t think anyone has a problem with paying something for their healthcare. People just don’t want to be raked across the coals when it comes to paying for healthcare. Competition is the best way to drive down prices. If insurers could compete across state lines, would premiums drop? Yes. If the federal government offered its own coverage that competed with private insurers as an insurer of last resort, would premiums drop? In all likelihood, yes.

Why are healthcare costs so high? Hospitals and doctors charge too much some would say. Ok, if that’s the case, why are they charging so much? Their malpractice insurance is expensive. Why is their insurance so expensive? Frivolous law suits. Thus, perhaps we should look at tort reform for medical malpractice to drive down doctors’ and hospitals’ insurance costs. Would this all help lower healthcare costs? Sure. What else would help lower healthcare costs? Preventative healthcare and a healthier population. Insurance costs go up because healthy people are taking care of sick people. Some illnesses can’t be avoided. But some illnesses are lifestyle related. If you’re obese, have heart disease and diabetes, why should I be subsidizing your cost of healthcare? If you’re a smoker and have lung cancer, why should I subsidize you’re treatment? If you’ve got a sexually transmitted disease because you engage in high risk activities, why should I subsidize your treatment?

Everyone should have access to affordable healthcare. But by the same token, everyone should be expected to pay for their own healthcare, and if you engage in activities that may result in health problems, you should be on your own. If the costs are high, so be it. You made a conscious decision about your health, so be prepared to live with the consequences.

North Carolina: Americans need health care coverage that they control. In order to allow Americans to be covered without penalizing them for not having insurance, health care consumers should have the ability to choose how to meet their health insurance needs in a free market system, which means a patient-centered, market-based system that focuses on citizens and not on government and government interference.

The Republican Study Committee through the American Health Care Reform Act has proposed a number of avenues to cover Americans without penalizing them for lack of insurance or forcing enrollment in government systems. These suggestions include the total repeal of Obamcare (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), as well as provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

In order to access portable and affordable health insurance, the legislation would equalize those who purchase insurance through the individual insurance market with those who receive insurance through an employer. This would be accomplished through the current uncapped tax benefit for employer-sponsored health insurance and the self-employed tax deduction with a standard deduction for health insurance. The tax benefit would be portable, would provide payroll tax relief to the working poor, and would give families the flexibility to choose a plan that best fits their needs. In addition, the bill would expand access to health savings accounts, increase maximum allowable contributions to health savings accounts and allow employers to offer a larger benefit for completion of a wellness program.

The bill would also expand federal support for state high-risk pools to $25 billion over 10 years providing a solution to address a segment of the population that has been unable to obtain affordable insurance. Premiums would be capped at 200% of the average premium in a state. The bill would also guarantee that individuals with pre-existing conditions would be able to move between large, small and individual health insurance markets.

In order to prevent penalizing Americans for not having insurance, programs that offer release from government systems need to be adopted and utilized. A summation of options that should be made available to all citizens include: 1. State market-based solutions, 2. Interstate purchasing of insurance at low and competitive prices, 3. True interstate market purchase across state lines. 4. Expansion of health insurance choice, competition, and permission of businesses to poll together to negotiate better rates, 5. The reform of Medicaid programs in individual states with actions to modernize care and institute self-responsibility for health care, and 6. Congressional action to reform and modernize Medicaid.

Orlando: Most citizens are already forcibly enrolled in many government systems. In order to vote, you have to register. In order to apply for any job, you have to register with, or be exempt from, the Selective Service Authority. In order to put money in a bank, you have to have a Social Security number. In order to drive a car, you have to register your car and yourself with the state. Even using currency requires mandatory participation in a government-backed exchange. Health care is no different. Private health insurance is a contract, enforceable by the courts, which is taxed and regulated just like every other transaction. People are already forced to enroll in a government run system, and they are already sharply penalized, often with bankruptcy, for not having insurance coverage.

The United States is the only developed country without a public option for health insurance, and also pays about twice as much per capita for health care. The concurrence of these two facts is not coincidental, nor is it because the United States has the best health care in the world. The quality of care is about the middle of the pack- it is better than some and worse than others. Collectivization allows for negotiation from a stronger position, which results in better prices. It’s why your grocery store pays less for food than you do, because your grocery store is negotiating on behalf of everyone who shops there. It’s why unions are able to secure better wages, because they negotiate on behalf of everyone who works there. It’s why countries like Canada and Great Britain have 50% lower health care costs, because they can collectively negotiate with companies to provide services. These companies compete to secure this contract, because it’s a ton of guaranteed business and a lot of money, and consumers benefit because they get guaranteed access to high-quality, cheaper goods. A public option, even a non-mandatory one, but one that cannot turn anyone away due to health concerns, would only hurt the executives of insurance companies, who might be forced to sell several yachts, or only go to Luxembourg twice a year. Meanwhile, millions of hardworking people will be able to get life-saving medical care without going bankrupt. This is the cost of a public option, not the bogey man of mandatory enrollment.

Michigan: I think the question should be: Why is healthcare so expensive? If healthcare was affordable to everyone we would not be going through this. As long as we have the greed by the insurance companies, drug companies and health care providers the price will never go down. As long as our judicial system allows the law suits to continue to clog the courts the price will never go down. As long as the fraud continues to go unchecked the price will never go down. If just these three factors were addressed the price of insurance would be affordable to everyone without the government getting into it.

Washington, DC: One of the most basic needs of modern people is access to proper healthcare. The American population is ageing, which means that an increasing number of people will need some kind of health insurance to cover their growing health related expenses over the years. Also, American people are getting less healthy due to sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, and increasing rates of obesity. Historically, people were living longer since the 1850s mostly due to medical advances; however, according to a study conducted by a team of scientists from the National Institute of Ageing, the present generation might have a shorter life expectancy than the previous generation by as many as five years.

In a capitalist system, there is no other way to obtain health coverage but by getting health insurance—the earlier the better so that smaller problems can be taken care of before they become big ones. As such, ObamaCare provides a major step since the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid in that direction for many Americans who could not afford health insurance before. Not only that, but ObamaCare also provides insurance to people with no regard to their previous medical history (except the one associated with smoking), which will allow numerous people to obtain health care that they desperately need. As data shows, more than 48 million Americans were uninsured in 2012 and, most probably, a large number of them will get health insurance given the option.

Another way many people find a way to access needed medical attention is going to small health care providers, who offer medical services at lower, cash-only prices. Although small health care providers usually offer limited services such as preventative care, chronic disease management, and emergency care, they are able to meet the needs of many people. After all, only about 5-10% percent of people who come to a doctor’s office need further hospitalization. Still, this option requires some disposable income at hand when the need arises.

As such, if people need health related services, but do not or cannot get medical insurance—even a government sponsored one—the only solution is to find a medical practice which will be able to offer services at reasonable prices. However, if medical bills start piling up, it is better to have another option, and ObamaCare provides just that to many people.

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