Beyond the Cusp

September 19, 2017

The Grand Healthcare Fiasco

 

Has anybody honestly thought the concept of “Single Payer Government Healthcare” through completely? Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren claim they have the entire thing sorted out. What is their solution, you ask? They will tell everybody that it is easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. The answer is to simply give everybody a Medicare Card and presto-chango and you have universal healthcare. Nothing will change other than the government will now pay all your healthcare expenses. You actually do get to keep your doctor. Of course, you do not get to keep your healthcare insurance because the government will become your health insurance provider. Now, what could be any more simple? When you go to your doctor, you just show them your Medicare card, they take down the number, you sign that you received the care listed and the government pays your doctor. Well, you will need to press down when signing the paperwork because there are tons of copies being produced, at least five with an unknown upper end. Well, there will be a little more to your doctor getting his money, but your work will be finished. Your physician will then be required to also complete some additional forms further describing the services delivered and the resources used and any testing which was required and any other incidentals which might be required to satisfy the government regulations and specific other essential requirements to complete and satisfy every criteria which the government and Medicare requires. Then the entire package is wrapped-up and mailed using Fed Ex, UPS, DHL, USPS or other mode of delivery of your physician’s choice and after the government Medicare workers complete processing and approving the claim, then the check is in the mail. Well, actually, not necessarily.

 

Medicare requirements are very particular and it will probably take some adjustment in meeting their standards and style requirements as well as quantitative and qualitative requirements as well as making sure that you utilize the perfect and correct forms for each specific set of procedures as well as the right entries for items utilized and which form for each procedure and a million other vitally important minutia; all of which will take a little period for adjustments. Then, and only then, things will move along smoothly for you, your physician and everyone involved. Of course, there is a faster means your physician might consider in order to make their reimbursement less painful and less time consuming, they might actually consider trying hiring somebody with experience in government forms and government lingo with a specialty in Medicare forms and formulations. Once the wrinkles have been ironed out, then will come the initial shock for your physician, the fact that he will be receiving less for each visit and delivered medical services than he may have become accustomed. With some fine-tuning of how he represents each service rendered and supplemental services required and other technicalities, your physician will be able to rectify some of the deficit he first encountered. The one thing he should be forewarned is that the government may decide to audit his practice if they suspect they might be cheating the government to increase his profit margin by cheating the government by charging for things either he did not provide or for items he did not use. What adds to the overall confusion is that government processing of claims and auditing of these same claims are actually somewhat subjective just as much as objective. That leaves some wiggle room, often some very noticeable wiggle room. Much of that is due to regulations written in order to protect, favor or punish specific items, procedures and a variety of other items and even people which often lead to regulations which are all too often contradictory with all too often vague wording such that things depend upon the person reviewing the same procedural sequence coming out with very different results. This also means that what applied one time might not be acceptable the next which makes for some difficulty complying with every regulation and requirement.

 

Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

 

But let us leave all this aside and pretend that every provider is fully capable of meeting every wrinkle and requirement in the paper jungle which is government forms and requirements and understand and interpret every regulation with the greatest of ability. So, your physician is now a professional at all things government requirements, what could be the problem now? But what about these HMO, PPO and the rest of the alphabet soup of group coverage? Well, their problem will be to completely standardize treatments for every scenario and also make sure that the physicians itemize and document with great accuracy such that their administrative professionals can accurately file with the government. Our bet is that very quickly the idea of having your own private physician will very quickly become a thing of the past and most physicians will run and hide behind the bureaucracy of some group healthcare facility be it a hospital, clinic or HMO, PPO styled health provider. Yes, there will always be the pay for service providers who will be required to at the least file the Medicare paperwork despite taking an additional fee from their patients. Whether such will be theoretically permissible under the single payer government Medicare for all healthcare packages which the law suggested by Senators Saunders and Warren are suggesting is debatable because, as we all know, the government hates competition when taking over an industry. But there is another item which might allow for such care to exist, the wealthy are unlikely to be kind to having to accept the same level of care as the average person. As the wealthy are the meat behind campaign financing, our government representatives are extremely sensitive to their desires, wishes and comfort, and that means that the wealthy will be permitted their own better healthcare, thus, paying an additional fee to your personal physician will very likely be permitted or opting to go your own way and paying your physician as long as you also pay for government healthcare despite not taking full advantage of their wonderful services. But even all of this is not going to be the biggest problem because to assure that the majority of people end up in the government healthcare system, private health insurance will need to be made illegal across the board, which is why the wealthy will be paying directly to the physician for services and not purchasing an insurance plan. Further, the government will very likely allow membership hospitals charge their flat entrance fee either monthly or annually and any additional fees per service as required to continue to provide their services as long, again, as their members pay their Medicare fees to the government plan.

 

Finally, the people who will be hurt by any government healthcare system, where all health insurance is replaced by government payment of healthcare fees, is the health insurance company employees and the independent health insurance agents. From what we have read, this would include somewhere from two and a half million to three million people losing their employment. I can hear your claim that most of these people would be required to be hired by the government to do pretty much the same jobs they perform now. Well, that might be true if the only thing that health insurance employees ever did was process insurance claims. But there are also the salespeople, accountants, executives and likely dozens of other positions other than claims processing. Further, as the government will be the sole provider, and there being a number of healthcare insurance providers, the majority of these people employed by these companies will be out of work. There will be some new employees, enforcement investigators who will be sent to investigate fraud, and there will inevitably be fraud just as there is fraud now in Medicare and Medicaid. Then there are the last two and most frightening truths. With time, this care system will run into the same problems the other government healthcare systems already in use in the United States have, namely the “Veterans’’ hospitals and the healthcare system providing care of Native Americans in the various Reservations. This may be the absolutely most frightening reality of the entire healthcare prospects. There has to be a better system than using Medicare for all or any of the other European systems plus Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

 

We might suggest the Israeli system where everybody is required to have coverage and pay the healthcare tax. Here is where the Israeli system diverts from the others. There are four separate healthcare systems which are required to provide basic services by the government. Each of the four offers this basic set of services plus each choose a few additional services for their basic coverage. They each offer additional levels of service, say bronze, silver, gold and platinum (used for example only) which each provide additional services and prescription and other service coverages each for an additional fee to your provider. Physicians are required to provide a set number of hours of their practice to one of the national providers. They can then offer for fee services outside the system and collect fees as they desire to charge, if they are so motivated. This is most often taken up by specialists and surgeons. This also allows for those who desire to choose their own physicians outside of the basic providers to pay only the basic fee the government requires and then get all of their care privately. The four separate providers each are kept providing their services, including their additional service levels, at a reasonable rate as they are competing against one another. They also each provide separate additional plans leading to people choosing whichever of the four provide the services they are most likely to require. So diverse coverages, competition keeping fees low and physicians providing service to the general good before they can sell their services on the open market to earn additional fees. It provides the most for the least for the people and allows for physicians to make as much salary as they are able to command from an open market system as well. Everybody gets their advantages and all receive basic health coverage. Major Medical where hospitalization is covered for all is part of the system which appears to be much of what the United States is aiming to cover. There is one problem with the Israeli system, it is Israeli and that appears to disqualify it for some idiotic reason.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

March 5, 2017

Republican Distress Self-Inflicted

 

The Republicans appear to be in disarray and acting as if they are completely unaware of the fact that they control both houses of Congress and the White House and are in the catbird seat exactly as the Democrats were the first two years of President Obama’s two terms. They are capable of setting the rules in the Senate such that they would have sufficient votes to ensure cloture by requiring a mere fifty-two votes ending any filibuster. The Democrat use of the so-called nuclear option set the precedent for adjusting cloture to fit your needs when you have the majority in the Senate. Yes, doing so would allow for the Democrats to do similarly when they gain fifty-one seats in the Senate and who does not believe they would do exactly as such anyway. The Republicans instead are fighting with the White House declaring the President’s budget dead on arrival. This is a party in need of better leadership as currently they are wasting their first and possibly only opportunity to prove they are the better option by acting as a whole to enact their vision for the United States.

 

I hear people demanding what we would propose if we think we have the answer. Well, perhaps they could actually get everybody on the same page instead of having a different set of priorities for every twenty or thirty Republicans. They need to have the Senate choose ten Senators and the House of Representatives choose twenty-five or thirty Representatives and have these people meet with the President and each Cabinet member in a series of meetings taking a week out of their schedules. Initially the President on the first day along with his preferred advisors should meet with the delegations and set a general structure for the ensuing week or even two and have the President and everyone else at the meeting express their preferences and ideas and have them discussed in a general sense setting up a framework. Then they should have meetings with cabinet members and the President each morning and then return and meet with the Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senate each with their own chosen delegates such that everybody has some input and in the end they reach a consensus which is acceptable to the President and his Cabinet and advisors. Once this framework has been set, then the House of Representatives and the Senate can begin to work on the enactment of these ideas putting them into action. These agreed upon initiatives should be enacted through the House of Representatives and the Senate in quick order and signed by the President getting a basic set of accomplishments enacted and presented to the public as actual accomplishments in the next election cycle. If their ideas actually capture the minds and match the ideas of the population in the majority of the nation, then the Republicans can reap the rewards and press forward with even more action and accomplish what they promised in the first place.

 

President Trump National Security Advisor McMaster Speaker of the House of Representatives Ryan President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate Hatch

President Trump National Security Advisor McMaster
Speaker of the House of Representatives Ryan
President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate Hatch

 

The first thing they need do is revamp healthcare. An idea we would like to suggest is to keep the choice parts of the current system adjusted to make them include competition between the many insurance companies. Much of healthcare need be taken from the employers and returned to the people such that their demand for the most and best options and the insurance companies need meet their hopes at an acceptable price, this will bring healthcare costs back down within reason. Further, the government need remove most of the regulations, reporting requirements and other unnecessary paperwork which has completely destroyed the concept of a single doctor working from their home in the neighborhood where their patients reside as had been the case before the government needlessly intervened and destroyed affordable healthcare. The government should only require that insurance policies cover major medical allowing people to decide to pay for any minor care out of their own pockets. The one idea which the government should make illegal would be controversial but in the long run would produce lower medical costs, and that is to make group policies illegal such that companies, unions, and other groups such as retirement groups or social groups from offering insurance to their workers or members. Make individual policies the sole type of health insurance allowed and only require minimal coverages. We suggest only what used to be considered major medical which would include emergency rooms treatment with a deductible, surgical procedures, any hospital or clinical procedures again with a deductible, and hospital stays with a deductible. The deductibles would depend on the cost of the coverage with the less expensive coverage having a higher deductible while there could be specialty additional coverages which would cover these deductibles but this should be banned from health insurers offering. Such a system would produce insurance affordable at any level such that younger and healthier people could take the risk of higher deductibles and with people paying for most of their own healthcare we would see prices become lower for most standard healthcare needs. The main way to cut healthcare costs would be to put a cap on rewards for malpractice suits and make one vital change, the lawyers losing any malpractice suit would be responsible for both sides’ court costs and lawyers’ fees within set limits. This would lead to fewer malpractice suits as lawyers would be very careful to only take such cases which they felt quite sure of their case and winning the case, period.

 

There are probably many other means for lowering court costs which we have not included which the Congress could enact. Removing regulations and paperwork would be one of the greatest means to relieve the burden on physicians who have had to form groups to defray the clerical costs imposed by both government and insurance companies who often are demanding additional paperwork simply because the government demands they file paperwork. Government is once again the greatest contributor to the costs of a commodity which they also demand everybody purchase. This is simply something the people’s need should have to accommodate and not employers or government as that is the current system which the people declared broken and becoming overly expensive with far too many forms. The government should never have the power to add costs beyond reason to an industry and then require the people purchase said product. As happened with car insurance, whenever the government demands people to purchase a commodity the price of such commodity will naturally skyrocket reaching the limit of what the people are capable to pay, not the actual required cost of the commodity. Simply ask yourself what would you charge for widgets if the government required every person to purchase one widget every month? You would price them set the highest price the market would bear rather than a competitive price because every other widget salesperson would be doing the same. The highest probability is all widget salespersons would agree to set an inflated price where all would become wealthy beyond what any normal competition would prevail had the government not required people to purchase your product. That is simple reality of life and not rocket science, or advanced economics. The proof of this theory has been the cost of health insurance since Obamacare hit the market. This is why competition must be returned to the health insurance markets and as much government involvement must be removed back to bare bones or less. No government involvement would be the most preferred state of healthcare. But first the Republicans need to unify and find some leadership which can work well with President Trump, both by leading when necessary and following when Trump is leading constructively. We can only hope.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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