"Waste not, want not", said someone long ago, who was wise. We can likely fund a national health care plan, simply by allocating all that we now spend on such healthcare, supplemented by the elimination of dollars, which are squandered on useless projects. Can you even begin to estimate the value of waste, graft, pork, earmarks, contract-rigging, fraud, theft and frivolity, to name some, attributable to the greed, power and self-perpetuation within our government ranks. And yes, I do mean all of the states too, not just the federal government.
To me, health care is not just some liberty, freedom or right for some Americans but a fundamental human entitlement, well-being. As I have previously attempted to clarify, not only can a national health care program be complicated unto itself, but it will be directly related and interconnected to other issues as well, not the least of which are, the taxing system, the general economy, immigration, medi-care and disaster control to name a few.
How wonderful would it be if every citizen, young, old and in between, carried a national health care card. Universally applied care will be administered to every soul, who is a citizen, without complicated paper-work, regardless of location and without the providers' fears of being stiffed. In one phase of my Social Security plan, which will be addressed separately later, I suggest the issuance of a "Good-for-all I.D. card" (issued at birth), which is used to track one's social security benefits, will be properly encoded at the appropriate time as one's drivers license, will serve as one's voter's card once validated and will lend itself as one's health care card as well. If you should have some concern regarding the "Big Brother" effect, stop to think! Big Brother already exists. This universal card concept merely gives us a way to control the effects.
When one considers identity-theft, actual card theft, misuse, abuse, fraud and all other encumbrances, it may be wise to implement the universal card system. Please believe me, neither government nor private industry will know anything about you that they do not already know. I propose that said card display not only a photo but a finger-print and that it contains an encoded chip with special identification features, of which only the card owner will be aware. This is eventually going to be the case anyway. Such a card will soon be used as money. In my opinion, the sooner that money is eliminated, the better. It already costs more than the values of both penny and nickel just to mint them. It has truly become an internet/information world. The sooner we deal with it logically and realistically, the sooner the overall benefits will be enjoyed.
Imagine that the Veterans Administration hospital system can be eliminated, so that the V.A. could reduce staff and concentrate on other veteran's benefits such as housing, education and long-term welfare. Why? Because all veterans will tote a universal health care card. Existing V.A. medical facilities may be converted to schools, training facilities, additional long term care facilities, etc. Imagine going to any hospital in any state at any time for required or emergency care with no questions asked if one whips out his care card. Imagine that all senior citizens will receive full care at the appropriate medical center closest to them. Imagine that all single mothers and fathers, children, orphans and every other citizen, including senators and representatives and the president receive equal, speedy and top-notch health care whenever required. When I state the core principles of simplicity, balance, efficiency, reality and lawfulness, this type of program is what I am talking about.
My base program would include emergency services, prescribed health care and medicines, wellness examinations, normal out-patient services and basically any medical service, which is required, mandatory for continued good health or in any way dictated or essential. Procedures, for the most part, for adding hair, removing hair, transplanting hair, breast enhancement, tummy tucks, make-me-pretty, make-me-younger and other fundamentally cosmetic or desired only procedures, would need to be covered under a separate individually-funded supplemental insurance plan. Stated simply, the universal or national health care card will insure only services which are required for well-being. Can dental wellness and eye wellness also be included? It should be and can be. It is all a matter of funding.
How will such a program be funded? It will be funded by the One Tax, which I will outline separately in great detail. Ladies and gentlemen, everybody will receive and everybody must pay or contribute. It has always been this way. The people always pay the tax. There may no longer be any free-loaders. If you cannot pay your full share, others and I will help you, but if you make no contribution at all, others and I will NOT have interest in helping you. The only exceptions to this stance will be those, who are physically handicapped or disabled or mentally afflicted to the extent that they can make no contribution. I feel that we all have the obligation to provide for those, who CANNOT take care of themselves, not for those, who WILL NOT take care of themselves. Laziness and gimme-gimme will no longer be acceptable. There are curbs to be painted yellow, school grounds to be monitored, public grounds to be mowed, trimmed and policed (meaning trash pick-up), day-care centers to be staffed, roads and highways to be cleaned up and the list goes on and on. Nearly everyone can and will make an effort.
There are two methods to administer a national health care program. Firstly, the federal government could have complete charge of it, taking in all the money and making all the bona fide payments to the providers. I disfavor this option because major government bureaucracy has proved inept, crooked and inefficient, to state the case mildly. The best method may be to have the current, competent health care insurance providers bid for the opportunity to coordinate and administer the program, the federal government having the limited functions of collecting the funds, paying the insurance providers and regulating the plan for purposes of uniform care in all states, uniform acceptance in all states and fairly established costs in all states. The government would publish regular reports of both accounting and practices. This limited federal government involvement should insure that all states are uniform in their provisions and costs versus benefits. The insurance providers or administrators will audit the medical service providers (physicians, hospitals, etc.). The states will audit the insurance providers the federal overseers will audit the states. Each state should establish the minimum number of insurance administrators to adequately handle the care recipients in said state, bearing in mind quality, ability, competition and expedience. These insurance administrators could be presented to the people by the state and placed on a referendum, so the people may exhibit a voice in the selection.
If you examine what we are truly paying now for health care, what we are paying for Medicare (parts 26 ½ A through 13 3/5 E or F), what we are paying for illegal aliens and other uninsured, what we are paying for the complicated and confusing current system in waste, overcharges and underpayments, the latest array of prescription drug programs, which even the I.R.S. (consummate and preeminent obfuscator) could never figure out and in highly inflated prescription drug prices, due in large part to saturation advertising of the individual drug products and by the drug makers themselves at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, there is no doubt in my mind that there is a better way. Prescription drugs should only be promoted to primary care physicians, the one's, who are responsible for a body's whole health. Can you think of any bona fide reason, why drugs should be marketed directly to the public? I believe that a universal health care program can be devised and implemented for very little if any additional funding. Real, simple, efficient, balanced and lawful, that is where and what it is.
NOTE: If drug manufacturers really want to smell like a rose, let them cease the mass, costly and relentless advertising to the public, listing all of the often drastic side effects and become a part of a universal care program. Let them concentrate on the education of the physicians and contribute to the cost of a national care plan (without special favors). Several companies advertise that constipation and diarrhea are both possible side effects of the use of their drugs. If both occurred simultaneously, the person would literally blow-up, I guess. I am personally sick and tired of being beat to death by drug advertisements. Let the doctor decide what is right for a person's condition. I am waiting for one decent drug maker to say, "See your doctor for all of your prescription needs", as a public service announcement. We need to strive to reduce drug dependence, not promote it.
Why can we not assemble a board or committee, composed of a few good congressmen, some respected doctors and dentists, representatives of insurance providers, recognized economists and concerned citizen-users in an effort to hammer out a plan, which is beneficial to all involved? All it takes is a balance in the furtherance of science and cost containment. It takes a little bit of "I want to", "We can do this" or "You lead and we will follow". Heretofore, there has been no leadership. Somebody must step out and grab the proverbial bull by the horn. That someone is I. I do commit to lead. Do you commit to join me?
I certainly would not expect anyone to accept the above offering as gospel. My aim is to prompt awareness that this type of simple, fair, effective and universal care program is needed, easily achievable, fair and satisfying. It is satisfying because we can take this issue off the table. We can remove this issue from our priority list forever, not that it will not receive ongoing attention and minor revision as conditions and situations dictate. And, how satisfying will it be to know that, at last, the worry of care is dismissed permanently.
Why should any government officer or employee, at any level, receive more and better benefits than those received by tax-paying citizens, who in essence pay for the said government benefit plan? Did you ever wonder if congressmen either pay into or receive social security? Are you happy, when you go to the post office and find it to be closed for another federal holiday, when you must work that day? Have you ever imagined what the cost to the tax-payer might be for lost production, when millions of government personnel are off on another holiday? I guess what may be reasonable is giving the government employees a bit less and giving the citizens (investors and shareholders) a bit more, eliminating the disparity. It simply does not make any sense that you are working on President's Day, so that someone else may not work yet get paid. Is it just me or are you also perplexed by this inequity, this imbalance?
Thank you very much.