On Renewing the Health Insurance Debate

As Democrats unsuccessfully ramming their health insurance plan through and while Republicans remained obstinate to changes, the situation of citizens remains the same: people with pre-existing conditions cannot get coverage, people using health insurance still face rising premiums, many employers continue to shift more health insurance responsibility to employees, and many people are lack employment.

I know health-insurance Darwinists are out there – meaning they see insurance only for those who can afford it – of  course their tune changes with their situation – so they only get these few lines. Nonetheless, the majority of Americans still want something done. (USA Today poll).

Before mentioning my ideas, members of Congress must pledge to stop lying and distorting information. All truths and nothing but the truths! Since the pledge, lying, half-truths, and distortions is beyond their grasp, thus won’t happen, here are 10 ideas (in no particular order).

1) A national program without tort reform is quite stupid; however, national leadership must clearly inform the public that such tort reform would only affect litigation involving federal law through the federal courts – thus do not effect cases based on state laws in state courts. Currently, some states have already done tort reform, while others have not.

2) Denying insurance because of pre-existing conditions and raising premiums because of using insurance must stop.

3) No pork and no sweetheart deals as in Nebraska or Louisiana. Nada, none, zilch!

4) Remove the tax on the luxury plans. If employers want to offer better plans, so be it – well, as long as they offer to every employee. In other words, a luxury tax on exclusive plans within a company is acceptable.

5) Dramatically reduce the number of uninsured. The numbers I’m seeing from both sides of the aisle are too high. However, I appreciate USA Today’s thoughts on removing the requirement for purchasing health insurance.
“If someone refused to sign up but later got sick and sought coverage (which insurers would have to provide), that person might have to pay a year’s worth of premiums to get covered.”

6) Offer a three-ponged government option.

  • Allow states to opt out, thus offering their own solution if they so choose. However, no opting-out state who does not offer options may prevent its residents from buying into the federal plan
  • Allow insurance companies to cross state lines in order to participate in the federal plan that should offer a cooperative of private insurers competing against one another.
  • Allow the ability to purchase into the same plan provided to those in Congress. It not, Congress should eliminate their current plan and use the cooperative. To the pompous roaming the Capitol Hill halls, this is your chance to shine!

7) Many pro-choice voters will not mind excluding abortion funding from government-backed insurance. If the move gets more votes, so be it.

8) Stop blaming the health insurance companies because they are only one part of the issue. Since they are part of the equation, they may have some useful insight at controlling costs. Although one does not have to agree, here is an interesting WSJ article based on an interview with the WellPoint CEO.

9) Do not move people from Medicare into another program. Now is the perfect opportunity to examine the Medicare system to find wastes, abuses, and duplicate/conflicting programs that, if eliminated, would produce cost savings to the government without reducing coverage.

10) Develop a way to maximize use of tax-favored health saving accounts (HSAs) for everyone who wants one.

Oh well, let Washington get back to the rhetoric and self interests.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 37

On Health Care Legislation
As Republicans continue to oppose many ideas in health care legislation, one has to wonder what is going on in negotiations. It must be the legislators making sure their state receives money for something. So in terms of the GOP, their constituents get something as they vote no. Hail to the congressional way of piling on that pork while straying away from the problem and its solution!

The other hands in the fray are those of the lobbyists as they are spending big bucks to get their needs. See these figures from the Sunshine Foundation regarding the Senate Finance Committee. Do you think there’s a relationship between contributions and votes?

On Health Care Expenditures
President Obama says he will not sign any bill that would increase the deficit or increase taxes. Well, that leaves spending cuts – and Congress is going to do that? Now that’s unfortunately funny.

On Partisanship
Here’s a great descriptive quote from the Brookings Institute about the current political climate.

Party polarization—the ideological gap in Congress between Democrats and Republicans–is at its highest level in more than a century. Today, for the first time in modern history—maybe ever—the most conservative Democratic senator is to the left of the most liberal Republican. There is literally no ideological overlap between the parties. This structural fact dramatically lowers the prospects for a “coalition of the center”; there are fewer people within hailing distance of the center than there used to be.

In the spirit of Sarah Palin’s continual barking about “death panels”, Joe Wilson’s “you lie”, and countless number of false statements about health care reform from both sides of the aisle, now we can add Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) for his description of the Republican health care plan to the pathetic group of people voters put into office.

I know that some of the news regarding community-action group ACORN is driven by Republicans, but ACORN is an albatross around the Democrats neck; thus they should cut ties. Since the truth is somewhere in the middle, I find it unacceptable.

On Some Football Tidbits

  • Last Saturday I attended the Fresno-Cincinnati game at Nippert Stadium. Although the Bearcats won 28-20, time of possession and total yards were interesting. Fresno 43:42, 443 yards; UC 16:18, 357 yards.
  • UC is at Miami (OH) this weekend for the  battle of the Victory Bell in the oldest rivalry west of the Alleghenies.
  • Last Sunday the NFL had an oddity: The Jets, wearing old Titan uniforms, beat the Titans, wearing old Oiler uniforms.

On Phil
After a year of difficult family news on more than one front, it was good to see golfer Phil Michelson win the last big tournament of the year.

On a Wine Remedy
For those who don’t know, I enjoy wine. Here’s an article about the possibility of wine preventing gallstones!

On Current Disasters
Thoughts and prayers go out to Filipinos and Samoans as the cope with their losses.

On the Real Men of Genius
As baseball’s regular season comes to an end, I will miss the Bud Light commercials featuring the Real Men of Genius. Here’s the entire library.

On for Your Entertainment
For those who haven’t seen the toddler dancing to Beyonce, check it out!
Meanwhile, since I enjoyed Slumdog Millionaire and its music, here’s Jai Ho with the Pussycat Dolls.