Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Single Payer Health Care for all Americans.

There is no other way to my mind, but that any change in health care in the USA should provide accessibility to each and every person living in our country. Health care is a right, not a privilege. However, it also will be cheaper to provide health care through a Federal governmental insurance program. For one thing there are no high commissions that must be paid, for another, lawyers will not be needed to make companies live up to their obligation, and certainly, when the government holds the reigns, the cost of health care can be kept under control.

Implementing such a plan involves collecting premiums from everyone, whether (self-) employed, enjoying an income from investments or whatever, or having no income. Not everyone will be expected to pay the same amount, but in the aggregate the total premiums should approximate those that are being paid now.

I suggest that an arrangement is considered like it is (or at least used to be) in the Netherlands, adjusted for today’s realities in the States as I see them:

(a) Families with an income of $10,000 per year per person pay no premium

(b) Families with an income between $10,000 and $25,000 per year per person must pay an increasing percentage of this income for premium via payroll taxes.

(c) Families with an income of between $25,000 and $50,000 per year per person may pay a premium equivalent to the highest premium paid in (b)

(d) Families with an income above $50,000 per year per person are ineligible to participate in this program.

Obviously, the income levels are arbitrary.

The program should be administered by Medicare at a cost of no more than 4% of total premium income.

The health care that is provided under this plan should include preventive care and all treatments approved by a board of medical experts, including surgery, but excluding electives. Hospital stays should be kept to a reasonable length in semi private, efficient and cost-effective surroundings. Private rooms can be obtained through private insurances. Medical appliances and implants should be included, also things like wheelchairs etc. I also would include care for those who are staying in our country legally (tourists etc.) to a point where they can be safely transported back to their own country for continued care. Reciprocal measures by other countries should be expected.

Implementing a plan like this will bring the USA at a par with other developed countries; it will take a huge burden of the shoulders of industry and will enable better international competitiveness. It also will provide a lot of jobs, not only for care givers, but also for the auxiliary industries involved with the delivery of health care.

There are other aspects as well, but in the interest of brevity I will not elaborate on these at this time.

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