Tuesday, December 15, 2009
All this time Congress and the President have been arguing about healthcare reform in a desperate attempt to make history in one sweeping piece of legislation, the details and costs of which not even they fully understand, think of what they could have accomplished without it costing us a dime.
1. Pass a law – a relatively simple, standalone piece legislation – preventing any medical insurance company from charging individual applicants more for coverage than what they charge groups of only 2 or more.
2. Pass a law preventing any medical insurance company from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
3. Pass a law enabling medical insurance companies to do business across state lines. (The effect on competition should be dramatic.)
4. Pass a law enabling the duty free importing of pharmaceutical products from Canada. (Watch how quickly the costs of our prescription drugs fall.)
5. Pass a law standardizing the forms insurance companies use to process claims by doctors, hospitals and individuals.
6. Pass a law outlawing smoking in any public venue. (Smoking and second-hand smoke are major causes of disease, the treatment of which costs hundreds of billions of dollars per year – not to mention the lives our fellow citizens which will be saved.)
7. Pass a law outlawing the practice of medical service providers charging the uninsured more than they charge the insured by virtue of discounted pricing imposed by the underwriter. (If anything, insured customers should be charged more because of the higher administrative costs and delays in payment associated with insured patients’ claims processing.)
These 7 laws, and no doubt a few more that haven’t occurred to me, should be relatively easy to pass both the House and Senate. They cost our government nothing, while saving us billions of dollars by virtue of the efficiencies and additional competition they enable.
Isn’t it time our Congress and President starting thinking about healthcare legislation in more practical terms? Take the time they need to accomplish 100%, truly universal coverage, and do it right. In the meantime, pass the simpler bills on which there is general agreement so we can enjoy the benefits of that legislation without further delay.
It is, after all, not so much about making history, although history may well be made, as it is about the health of the American people, your family and mine.