A Grin at the End: Great name, great idea

August 2012 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

By Carl Sampson

I’ve been following with great interest all of the legal and political shenanigans involving Obamacare.

It seems to me that the law, which recently passed muster with the U.S. Supreme Court, is a perfect example of Carl’s Political Rule No. 1: No law is either as good as its supporters say or as bad as its opponents say.

The Democrats seem to think it’ll help low-income folks, young adults and hospitals, which won’t be left holding the bag when someone without insurance shows up in the emergency room.

The Republicans believe Obamacare is a step toward socialized medicine and, for the first time in the nation’s history puts the strong-arm on individuals to buy health insurance. It will ultimately leave states holding the financial bag for a bloated Medicaid program, they say.

Somewhere in the middle is reality, which is still far short of the mark.

That’s why I still favor my health care plan, which I dreamed up a few years ago. It would be way better than Obamacare, because it does more in a few sentences than Obamacare does in nearly 1,000 pages.

Its main problem was it didn’t have a cool name. I was thinking I’d call it Totally Awesome Care. Then I was thinking that I needed to take credit for it, so I tried Sampson Care. My wife wrinkled her nose at it, so I shortened it to the perfect name: Carlcare.

For those who have forgotten — or who chose to forget — here are the basics of Carlcare:

• Every man, woman and child would receive a $5,000 voucher each year from Uncle Sam that would pay for an annual physical and any health care and dental care — everything except elective cosmetic surgery. There will be no facelifts or hair transplants on the government’s tab.

• To receive that voucher, every man, woman and child must buy health insurance that has a $5,000 deductible. That means that in the event of an illness costing more than $5,000 a year to treat, the insurance would pay the rest of the bill. Like Obamacare, pre-existing conditions must be covered. Unlike Obamacare, the premiums would be much lower because of the much higher deductible.

• For Americans who are jobless or whose income is too low to afford even that health insurance, the states would pay the premium. This would cost far less that what now goes toward Medicaid.

• Illegal immigrants would be eligible for Carlcare — with a catch. They would have to sign a contract stating that in turn for being accepted into the program they would pay a $1,000 fine each year until they learn English and pass the citizenship test. The limit would be 10 years. To qualify, they must not have been convicted of a felony.

• Oh, and Medicare, Medicare and all other types of federal health care would go away, because they wouldn’t be needed.

That’s it.

Of course, politicians will never consider Carlcare, mainly because they can’t take credit for it. Plus, it’s not complicated enough to allow them to sneak a bunch of goodies into the law to take care of their donors.

Carlcare may never pass, but at least it’s got a great name.

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