A Grin at the End: A comprehensive health care plan – in just 490 words

December, 2009 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

By Carl Sampson

You’ve been following the national debate over health care. I can tell by the glazed look in your eyes, and the dazed look on your face.

You – and everyone else – have been wondering how such a simple thing as paying for health care can turn into such an unholy mess.

As I write this, Congress seemed to be on the verge of doing something – who knows what? – to help more folks afford heath care.

This is a good goal. Health care isn’t cheap, especially if you’re sick. Heck, it isn’t cheap even if you’re healthy.

What I don’t get is that Congress wants to spend a trillion dollars or so in the next 10 years – and still leave more than 20 million people out of the system.

What is it with Congress? Don’t they understand? If they want to help some folks they might as well help everyone, wouldn’t you agree?

So, just for the record, I will repeat how Congress could have assured full health care for all 305 million Americans and save money at the same time. Read closely, because I want you to compare my plan with what Congress cooks up and decide which is best.

OK, here I go.

• Every man, woman and child receives a $5,000 annual credit to pay for any health or dental care they need. Sorry, no facelifts, liposuction or other optional stuff. This is health care, not getting ready for the Miss America pageant.

• To access the $5,000 federal health care credit, you must purchase $5,000-deductible health insurance from a private company such as Blue Cross, Aetna or whatever. Because they will be covering a pool of 305 million people, the premiums would be much lower than what you would currently pay for the same coverage.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that if 305 million people spent all $5,000 each year it would force the federal government to hock a few B-1 bombers to cover the bill.

But here’s the beauty of my plan. Everyone will not max out their coverage each year because they will be getting timely treatment instead of putting it off.

For example, I wouldn’t put off that physical each year because I could afford it. Now I have to raid my piggy bank every time I go to the doctor, because my insurance has a $1,000 deductible. I don’t get regular health care of any sort because I simply can’t afford it.

Take away that factor, and I’m just liable to get regular check-ups.

Which in turn would mean fewer big-ticket problems in the future, so everyone comes out ahead – I’m healthier and Uncle Sam saves money.

Folks who are unemployed or on welfare would have their $5,000-deductible insurance paid for by the state – a bargain compared to the costs states are now saddled with.

An added benefit is the insurance companies are happy.

And all of us are even happier.

Come on, Congress. Do a better job. I dare you.

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