First of all, I would like to thank Truth for agreeing to debate health care in an open forum in which all opposing viewpoints will be heard and respected even in disagreement. Also TAO is a worthy, well-informed blogger with a definite plan for health care that is well thought out and well stated. Visit both of these sites for further information on their plans.
I would like to start out with some signposts for effective health care as I see it. I'll lay out several and then flesh them out in later posts. I would like to keep the posts from becoming excessively long.
1) Any plan has to be portable from job to job and must apply in all states. When health plans are restricted to one state, the number of companies offering are so few that they have a virtual monopoly. This lack of competition has a direct effect on driving up the price of the health care plans. This is simple supply and demand.
2) Even the tax laws for those with private health care and employer funded plans. Employer funded plans are tax deductible while private plans are not. I understand wanting to pay off the unions with tax breaks, but this inequity skewers the market in favor of employer funded plans, which are historically "cadillac" plans and are very expensive. Therefore, the health companies have no incentive to lower their premiums because collective bargaining is in their favor. Employers, both government and private, are raked over the coals, financially paying for these plans. I know, I negotiated a few contracts in collective bargaining. If you don't think we knew the value of our health care plans, you should have seen us throwing most of our demands overboard to keep the level of coverage and our level of contributions. Allow competition and prices will drop. (See #1)
3) The Holy Grail of health care reform is the lawyers worst nightmare, tort reform. I've heard some statistics that tort (injury) settlements only account for 2%-3% of health care costs. While the actual awards may account for this amount, the real money is in malpractice insurance costs to medical personnel. This is a very real expense and very real cost that is passed on to the consumer. JC Penney figures the amount of shoplifting it suffers into the price of a sweater and passes it on the the consumer. All overhead is figured into the price of goods and passed onto the consumer or there would be no profit. The spigot should be closed on this profit fountain for lawyers.
Some items to explore later are Medicare reform, tax reform (think Fair Tax), high deductible insurance, HSAs, and others.
What I tried to do here is throw out a first pitch as it were, in this debate. I hope others join in and we have a good old free-for-all. I realize I haven't talked money, but I'll get to that after I frame my position. I look forward to this debate.
Thanks for reading.