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Everybody in the Pool

During surgery to remove a blood clot, doctors discovered an aggressive form of brain cancer attacking Senator John McCain.

While the rest of official Washington and Americans of every political stripe joined in prayers, support and best wishes for McCain in his recovery and looming fight, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he would wait for his colleague to return to Washington and add his vote to killing Obamacare.

Now, there’s some irony for you.

John McCain’s surgery alone last weekend was estimated to cost at least $76,000.  And where does he get his insurance?  Obamacare!

According to CNN, “For most members of Congress, that means purchasing insurance through the DC exchange.  In 2017, the exchange offered 57 plans in its gold tier, the tier from which the government requires members and staffers to purchase insurance.”

The federal governments (we, the taxpayers) cover about 72% or more of their “Cadillac plan” premiums, as I understand it.

But, don’t members of Congress make too much money to qualify for government subsidies?  Why yes, they and their staffs do.  But they were smart, see, and wrote a special law into that horrible Obamacare.  They qualified each of their offices as small businesses, so they all get way more government money than you and I do to help pay for their insurance.

Base pay for a US Senator is over $174K, and that’s before they get travel expenses, housing, office, 40-60 staff members (at up to $159K each) franking privileges, free foreign travel, and other lulus.

I wonder what McCain’s co-pay was.  If he had to take the plan I’m on, he would have been out of network, and would have had to foot the whole bill himself.

Blue Cross doesn’t even let me use my local hospital.

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KingstonBarn Photo

We need to change focus.  Lets stop debating the best insurance plan, and start working on the best care for everyone.

Maybe we can get our president or one of our congressional representatives to introduce the following:

ALL elected officials, every one of their staff members, and every federal government employee are eligible ONLY for the worst insurance plan available to anyone, anywhere in their home state.  No waivers may be granted to anyone.  They would not be able to purchase any private plan.

Of course, they’d still have the option of having no health insurance at all, so we wouldn’t be forcing anyone to purchase anything they don’t want.

With that provision attached to any health care legislation,  I’m guessing the President and Congress would find some way to get to a sensible, effective, single payer, Medicare-for-all plan pretty darn quickly.

I’d bet that part of that plan includes the government’s ability to negotiate drug and care prices, all hospitals would be funded and reimbursed properly, and they’d figure out a way to make sure qualified students can get through medical school and training without debt.

You could eliminate, or greatly reduce Medicaid, workman’s comp claims, unbridled price increases for drugs, and all sorts of redundant and expensive parts of the medical insurance industry machine.  Everyone would get the same high-quality health care. Think of the money and time we’d save in eliminating layers in bureaucratic red tape alone.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services tell us that the current health system accounts for $3.2 Trillion (almost 18%) of our economy.  A big chunk of that is going to insurance companies, drug companies, and the countless people hired by every doctor, hospital, and business to slog through the morass of rules, regulations, reimbusement rates, and billing.

What could an employer do with the money if they saved even half of what they now send to private insurers, workman’s’ compensation and medicare taxes?  Could they hire more people, pay employees more, or even make a bigger profit for themselves?

How much can we save on taxes if states, counties, municipalities and school districts don’t have to negotiate and pay for health insurance at contract time?

Imagine the power of the purse wielded by a single pool of 326 Million people.

Locked Out of the Pool

Locked Out of the Pool -KingstonBarn Photo

Whatever the resulting plan, and whatever they call it, they would serve us all well if the actual care provided met the same standards for everyone.  None of us ought to be forced into a choice between getting new glasses, getting an abscessed tooth pulled, or buying groceries this week.

You may say the Constitution does not mention health care, and you’d be right.  It doesn’t mention a lot of things we have to deal with now, though it it does provide a mechanism to Congress and the President, showing both how to work together to make it happen, if they decide they want to.

The Constitution starts by telling us why.  “We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”

Am I naive to hope congress would try for that? Probably so.

-Andy Champ-Doran

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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