DownsizeDC.org
June 19, 2009
Complexity, Simplified
By Jim Babka

Media Notice: Today (Friday), Jim Babka is scheduled to appear on "Straight Talk w/ Jerry Hughes," starting at 3:05 PM Eastern. Listening details can be found on the DownsizeDC.org blog.

Quote of the Day: "You will be assimilated." -- The Borg (from Star Trek)

Subject: The complex health care issue made simple

If politicians can complicate an issue then they know our minds will freeze, our attention will wander, and we'll let them do whatever they want. The health care issue is a classic example.

There are tax issues involved, state and federal regulations, and massive price distortions caused by programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP. And the proposals for "reform" are tangled in jargon...

* Connectors
* Mandates
* Comparative effectiveness
* Guaranteed issue
* Pools
* Community rating

Hard-working taxpayers can't possibly have the time and energy to understand it all. But we think the complexity can be simplified to two simple questions:

* For whom does your doctor work?
* Do you pay for your health insurance directly?

If your doctor tailors his or her care to the policies of your insurance company, or some government program, then you don't really have a doctor who works for you, and health care hasn't really been reformed.

You'll know health care has really been reformed when the following things are true...

* You and your doctor deal with your health insurance provider as rarely as you currently do with your car insurance company
* Doctors post their prices, and compete with each other based on price and quality

It's really that simple. As long as insurance policies and/or government programs fund most of your health care, doctors will work for them and not for you. 

The same holds true for health insurance. As long as our health care coverage comes mostly from employer controlled insurance or the government, we won't have a competitive health insurance market, and the cost of both insurance and health care will grow constantly.

When Americans care about the impact that their use of health care has on their insurance premiums in the same way that they care about the impact that speeding tickets and minor scrapes have on their car insurance, you'll know that our health care system has really been reformed.

We must reach the point where Americans are paying close attention to the cost and quality of both their insurance and their medical care, and are constantly looking for better deals and better service. You'll know health care has really been reformed when...

* Few Americans have insurance through their employers
* People have portable major medical policies that they pay for directly
* There are no government mandates on what insurance must cover and consumers can buy the kind of coverage they want
* Government aid to indigent patients is provided by the states or charities, with NO federal involvement
* Medicare is optional and means-tested
* Any government funding of health care that remains comes through vouchers rather than direct payments to doctors and hospitals

When you see these things happen you'll know that health care has really been reformed, because you'll start seeing the positive results. People will...

* Watch what they eat, exercise, take their vitamins, and quit smoking, because their basic health care costs and health insurance premiums will be coming out of their own pockets
* Stay healthier longer, because they'll be more focused on prevention
* Demand to see prices from doctors and hospitals so they can measure the impact on both their checking account and their insurance premiums
* Start shopping for the best deals, both in terms of price and quality

In addition...

* Doctors and hospitals will advertise their prices and the quality of their outcomes
* Insurance companies will compete on price and service just like car insurance companies do
* Consumers will rate doctors and hospitals on the Internet, the same way they rate books and products on Amazon
* The current surplus of specialists and the shortage of primary care physicians will correct itself, as real free market prices once again balance supply with demand
* The cost and quality of health care will constantly improve, just as it has with lasik eye surgery, which patients pay for directly

When you see these things happen you'll know that health care has really been reformed. But...

Before we can achieve these results we must first stop the politicians from making things worse. We believe the real aim of the current proposals is to assimilate you into a system completely controlled by the government. Do not be assimilated!

Tell your Congressional employees to oppose all health care proposals that increase government involvement.

Use you personal comments to tell them they should only support proposals that restore consumer control. Cut and paste from this Downsizer-Dispatch if you want to add detail.

To exceed the 36,512 messages we sent last month we need to send at least 1,639 messages today.

Thank you for being a part of the growing Downsize DC Army.

Perry Willis
Communications Director
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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Filed under Downsizer Dispatch, Health
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