Let’s Talk Health Care

Let’s talk about health care. First, some things I won’t do. First, I will not invoke the Constitution. Second, I won’t debate whether it’s a Right or not. These two items alone have caused more weeds in the discussion than results. I won’t do any of these things because regardless of where you fall using these methods, they don’t solve the problem. The problem is that health care is expensive and everyone wants to be able to afford it. So instead of fighting for making it a Right or defending whether or not it’s Constitutional, what we should be doing is discussing how to make health care affordable. So that’s what we’re going to do.

So let’s talk about health care. It’s a hot topic and rightly should be. Everyone wants to be free from illness and the stress that comes with it. According to this Gallup Poll, it’s the second biggest thing in terms of importance. Sure said poll is over a decade old but I’m going to make an educated guess it would be the same today. At any rate, it rightly should be at the top of everyone’s list on most important matters in life. So why isn’t it?

According to this report from Marketwatch, Americans are spending more on eating out, getting new cars and entertainment than health care. In fact, more than double. I’m sure these numbers fluctuate over time but let’s understand something. If Americans spent less time being entertained, more time cooking at home and maybe scaled down on the need for new cars, I’m betting that money alone would pay for a health care insurance plan.

I noted in a previous post (which I’d encourage reading again even though it was posted before the Affordable Care Act became law) I noted first, that government was responsible for the high costs of health care. Second, I noted that many people, even those considered “poor”, have cell phones and cable television. Even a basic cable plan and an iPhone with a data plan totals today about $150.00 or more. Do you need cable television? Nope (I don’t have it). Do you need an iPhone? Nope. It’s nice to have these things and you can have a smart phone. Just scale down the unnecessary big channel and data plans. I’m betting all that data is being blown on social media, YouTube, Netflix…in essence, entertainment.

Now what else are Americans spending money on? America gets teased because it’s a consumer nation. We want big toys. A friend of mine once remarked, “America. We want big cars, big houses. Big boats and big plates with lots of food. We want big televisions and computers. We want big everything. Except for our bodies.” But it’s precisely because of our consumer nation that we have big bodies. And what do big bodies get? That’s right, health problems. Being over weight brings health problems and more needs for doctor visits and medications and…

Here’s my point. Americans have the money. They’re just putting it into things that are not important and quite frankly, causing health problems. America, you could afford health insurance before the ACA, you were and continue to spend your money on unnecessary things.

I’m convinced we could reduce the cost of health care if we got government completely out of health care. Everything I noted above that Americans afford are for the most part, not regulated to death by the government (except cars). Certainly no where near how the health care industry is regulated.

Let’s concentrate a moment on cell phones to see how to solve this.

Even the cheapest of today’s smart phones have more computing power than all the computers that sent man to the moon in 1969. And yet, when I wanted one, my cell phone company pretty much gave it to me in exchange for a monthly service plan. I had a choice of services to add or remove from the plan. I had/have choices. I only pay for what I want. Why doesn’t the health care system work like cell phone companies?

What if you could walk into a doctor’s office or hospital and say, “I’d like a health care plan.” And then someone comes out with a catalog of things you could buy. And on a monthly basis, you would pay for them. It could work something like car insurance. You buy based on your risk assessment.

Of course, the question always arises. What if you plan poorly and you get hit with something you did not foresee? Well, maybe the hospitals could have an “Act of God” option. Pay an extra $10 a month for it.

I don’t have all the answers. And maybe my suggestion would suck. Could it be any worse than what we have now? Couldn’t we try it and if it doesn’t work, we just go back. Right?

Let’s massage this out. Let’s keep looking for more ideas and less “But the Guberment gotta do something.” Let’s be more creative. Continue the discussion in the comments section or on social media.

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