Saturday, February 14, 2009

Federal Witholding Healthcare

I was asked by our local Senator how we can fix healthcare. I think he was being retorical but instead I gave him both barrels. I told him the problem was that we pay for healthcare like we pay for our government and that has led to uncontrolled spending! He tried to walk away but the comment did create a little audience so I figured I might as well keep going on. I explained that health insurnace companies make their money on the interest of the money that they hold onto that they receive from employers. The more money they can get in and the longer they hold it, they make more. They want the money to come from the employers becuase it goes to them before those who are insured see it. This is the same reason our government adopted the withholding income tax. In both cases, if they get your money before you see it, they can get more. Also, in each case they put the burden on you as far as trying to get it back. Now since insurance companies make money on interest of the money they hold, it is essential that healthcare cost as much as possible so that they can raise the premiums and keep more of your money. This causes the huge inflation that is in healthcare. Things will cost as much as people will pay for. The insurance companies will pay so things will cost more. This inflation is in all aspects of healthcare.

So, how do we fix the problem? Competition is what lowers prices. Right now we really do not have competition. There are only a few big players. Opening up the borders of states to allow other choices for healthcare is one answer. The more insurance companies have to compete with each other, the better the rates for the insured will be. The second part of competition is the publication of healthcare charges by physicians, hospitals, etc. This should include private pay prices and prices paid by each insurance company. (Different physicians and hospitals are paid different amounts by the same insurance company) The long and short of it. We need to allow hospitals, doctors, and insurance companies to compete.

The last thing is what the health insurance companies do not want. Instead of your employer paying the health insurance premium, each of those insured needs to be the one who writes the check. The insurance comany needs to publish how much they will pay and for what and this needs to be given to each person insured. Then the patients are billed directly by the hospital, doctor, etc. and must be re-embursed by the health insurance company. This will cause the smart shopping patient to get their care where they get the most for their insurance dollars.
In many ways, our health insurance system is like the Federal Withholding Income Tax. If you seperate the person from their money before they knowthey have it, you can do anything you want with it. It is often said that our government would be a whole lot different if you paid your taxes in one big personal check at the end of the year. I think a great solution would be to get rid of income witholding tax and employer paid healthcare!

1 comment:

SeaSpray said...

Great post!

Have you ever considered going into law or running for office?

I have a friend who's aunt is an anesthesiologist and a lawyer... but her focus was more on medicine. (retired now)

We need someone in government who actually understands health care costs/problems.

McCain wanted to open up the state borders regarding health insurance. He also talked about option of buying own insurance vs through employer.

I am not sure I understand your last solution. And I am not sure I am comfortable with it... because with employer health benefits... because it is a group plan...aren't the rates cheaper, where they pay the bulk of it?

I know we could not afford what my husband's employer pays out and we pay hefty premiums with our share. more than what some others I know pay... but they are HMOs whereas we have a PPO. Don't know if that is why...and/or if it is because of the options chosen within the plan or the plan itself.

I would die if I got a 60,000 dollar bill from the hospital... for example. And what if ins contested? The patient would have less clout than the providers in securing reimbursement.

How would that work again?

I have never cared if I had that in my benefit pkg because I have husbands.. but maybe I should have.