In the past several weeks, I have sent the following question directly to both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and soon-to-be-ex-Speaker of the House John Boehner: “The Republicans constantly shout "repeal and replace" referring to Obamacare. Exactly what will you replace Obamacare with?”
Using a host of politically correct phrases to answer me, both men essentially said the same thing: “Trust me!”
It is hard to believe that politicians in Congress expect Americans to trust them. For the last five years, Gallup polls report that 70 percent or more of the American public disapprove of the job they have been doing. Why on earth would we trust them?
The Democrats are sticking with Obamacare as the answer even though we can all see clearly what a disaster it is. Giving free insurance to some at the expense of the middle class while making care less available to all is not good for We The Patients.
The Republicans need to tell us precisely what they plan on putting in place of Obamacare. They can’t give us an answer for one reason: They refuse to accept the reason WHY our healthcare system is sick. Therefore, they do not know what to do to fix healthcare.
Well, I do.
Root Cause of Healthcare System Sickness
The root cause for healthcare system dysfunctional has been clearly established. Health is sick with cancer. The cancer is located in the federal bureaucracy. Just like all other cancers, this one grows and grows and grows. To achieve continuous growth, the cancerous bureaucracy needs control of us, of our money and of all other resources. Paraphrasing President Ronald Reagan, federal regulation and control of healthcare is the problem and therefore Washington can never provide the solution.
Expecting Washington to fix healthcare is expecting cancer to cure cancer!
The Cure For Healthcare
Every doctor knows if you can identify the underlying reason why a patient is sick, you have a path to a cure. If over-regulation of healthcare is the root cause, the answer is simple: Reduce regulation so the healthcare system can work for the We The Patients.
Does that sound straightforward, simple and easy? It is simple. It is straightforward. It is not easy, not easy at all.
The forces arrayed to oppose any change and to preserve the current status quo are massive. There has never been a time when government bureaucracy has voluntarily reduced itself in size or reach. The federal bureaucracy always expands. Just take a look at the president’s “reform,” Obamacare, to see proof: six brand new federal agencies; over 10,500 pages of regulations in the Federal Register; thousands of new bureaucrats; and $2.6 trillion of new spending on bureaucracy, not to health care, all in the name of reducing national spending!
What we need to do to the federal bureaucracy (Dr. Deane Waldman)
How do we shrink bureaucracy to a reasonable size? Fiscal tactics such as tax cuts, or as conservatives call it, “starve the beast,” alone won’t solve our problem. We need a system change. We need to restore free market forces to healthcare, where presently there are none.
I call the cure for healthcare, Direct-Pay USA. It is quite simple.
- Each person shall have a Health Savings Account (HSA) that he or she controls.
- Each year the government shall put $5,000 into your individual HSA. Unused funds may accumulate; no “use it or lose it.”
- You control these funds for your medical needs. In other words, the patient can shop for care and pays for it directly.
- All monies paid into the Medicare Trust Fund shall be paid out into seniors’ HSAs.
- Sellers of medical goods and services can compete freely for patients’ spending. Advertised medical outcomes will be verified.
- All individuals shall purchase catastrophic insurance out of their HSA’s. This insurance will be “catastrophic,” meaning that it pays everything after a certain amount is spent out-of-pocket, for instance 25 percent of the individual’s HSA.
That’s it. While there are additional important issues to be decided, Direct-Pay USA puts you in control of your money, your health, and your future. The government no longer tells you or your doctor what to do.
No pre-authorization and no denials. No billing process at all. Thus, no fraud and abuse because this occurs through the complex government billing process.
No longer will your money be spent on massive bureaucracies and incomprehensible administration. No Medicare, Medicaid, or Obamacare. No unfunded mandate. No penalty taxes on either the individual or the employer. And no regulatory burden on doctors or patients.
Direct-Pay USA will cost just over half of what the U.S. is currently spending: $500,000 times 320 million Americans equals $1.6 trillion. Even if you add $400 billion for what little bureaucracy and administration we actually do need, Direct-Pay USA will cost $2 trillion per year. That sum represents 59 percent of the $3.4 trillion we spent on healthcare in 2012. Note that the $3.4 trillion was the cost before Obamacare was implemented, with all of its additional spending … on bureaucracy.
Direct-Pay USA restores control of your health care to you. Direct-Pay USA puts back free market forces – saving money and competition – where they are desperately needed, into our healthcare system.
Republicans: after you yell "repeal and replace" add “with Direct-Pay USA.”
Fellow Americans: Demand Direct-Pay USA and get the government out of your doctor’s chair.
Dr. Deane Waldman MD MBA is author of “The Cancer in Healthcare,” as well as www.WeCanFixHealthcare.info; Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics, Pathology and Decision Science; and Adjunct Scholar (Healthcare) for the Rio Grande Foundation, a public policy think tank. Dr. Deane also sits on the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange, as Consumer Advocate. Opinions expressed here are solely his and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Board.
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