23 February, 2010

American Health Care Solution?

The American government has been brought to its knees by its inability to deal with how to provide health care coverage for its citizens. In place of the insane mismash of legislation that is the Obama Health Care Initiative, I wonder if the following would be another way of framing their argument such that it might be acceptable to both camps involved in the current legislative paralysis.

Why NOT pay for your health care through the tax system. It could be formulated, implemented and effective within one current legislation if it can provide universal coverage as attached to universal suffrage.

PART 1.  Caring for the "widows and the orphans"

1. Provide all health care for those under the voting age, and those after a certain age so as to ensure coverage for the vulnerable in American society.

2. Determine the average annual cost of health care for these citizens.

3. Divide it by the number of tax payers.

4. Each tax payer contributes their share to this cost through direct taxation.


PART 2.  "Treat others as you would have them treat you"

1. Determine the average cost of health care for individuals between the ages of majority and retirement (non-elective procedures only - including emergency plastic surgery) *

2. Multiply that cost by the factor of 47 (65-18=47) to determine balance of personal health care account. (This factor could change if the retirement age was raised)

3. Divide by number of taxpayers

3. Every citizen who files a tax return will either:

-pay a premium equal to this amount ("scaled to income" if desired by government) for government insurance marketplace which would provide annual average for care, with a percentage of unused funds to be carried forward in a personal care account.
or...

-receive a tax deduction for up to the same amount if a taxpayer purchased his/her own private coverage

PART 3.  "Members of the community"

1.   Only taxpayers who vote in national, state or local elections will qualify for government assistance or subsidy for health care coverage (dispensations)

2. Only citizens will qualify for subsidy, provided that charities could buy insurance or cover care costs for immigrant communities (legal or otherwise) without the patient being subjected to legal ejection from the country if he/she needed medical care

NOTE:  *  Abortion services, when entirely a voluntary and elective procedure would not be covered by government funding or subsidy



So... with a particular interest to any American readers, what are the strengths, weaknesses or whatever of this as a framework for getting over the Congressional paralysis over this issue.

13 comments:

  1. Why not abortion services?

    Or, if not abortion services, then nothing else that's strictly voluntary, either.

    In other words, if it ain't immediate life or death, pay for it yourself.

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  2. Unless there is universal coverage, there should be no coverage. Abolish Medicare and Medicaid. Why should we pay for health care for the old and poor that we can't afford for ourselves. That's not even charity, it's stupidity.

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  3. Why would we not pay for universal health care, though? I don't consider it to be charity in any sense of the word, reddog. Until the profit motive is removed from health care, I consider it a right to have access to basic needs.

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  4. There is no reason not to have universal health care. In the end, it is he only way to provide everyone coverage at an affordable cost to society.

    Inequality in health care promotes profiteering. Currently, the Right Wing coalition is pitting the old and poor, who receive health care entitlements, against the uninsured working class, who don't and blocking health care reform. It is a detestable strategy. The Catholic Church makes things worse by holding health care hostage against abortion, not only detestable but calculatingly immoral.

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  5. G'Day,

    Universal coverage mean that everyone is provided with medical services. It does not mean that every medical procedure available will be paid for by the plan. It is my opinion that abortion is the very definition of an elective procedure (assuming that the health of the mother is not threatened).

    Why should state funded health care be used to pay for an elective procedure? We do not pay for elective cosmetic surgery... we do not pay for chiropractic services... we do not pay for psychological services (just to name a few). Why should abortion necessarily be included among the procedures that are paid for by the state?

    This is not promoting inequality... it is simply a matter of rationalizing our health care dollar so as the give the greatest good for the greatest number.

    Fr. Tim

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  6. Tim, in Canada, any procedure to which the patient agrees is considered to be elective...even if it's being done as the only way to save the patient's life. So the term, "elective" is extremely misleading.

    Should we not be paying more for preventative measures -- of anything -- before paying for the more expensive corrective measures? Fund contraception and sex education if you don't like abortion. Fund chiropractic before back surgery. Like that.

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  7. Lady Janus: You are interpreting the word "elective" from a different perspective than it is normally understood in health care. "Elective" is a determination of the medical profession & government as a label for services that are not deemed necessary for maintenance of ones heath. Abortion is not a threat to a woman's health (with very few exceptions) so it thus should be grouped with those "elective" procedures that are not funded. With limited dollars available to pay for medicare, abortion does not pass the "triage" test.

    Fr. Tim

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  8. I don't particularly mind if abortion is considered an elective procedure or whether it is paid for in whatever health care coverage is provided. That it is legal and available at a reasonable cost and within a reasonable distance, to those that choose to avail themselves of it, is enough.

    I find your rhetoric, Tim, as is so often the case, to be the weakest sort of poorly manufactured, duplicitous drivel, designed only to save face and obscure the fact that the battle over abortion is lost in the West and most nations of the World not made thrall to the superstitious pollution of organized religion.

    It is unworthy of you or perhaps, as I'm increasingly coming to realize, not.

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  9. Reddog: While I thank you for your concluding line, I disagree that the case against abortion is lost. A clear majority of Americans (and a growing number in Canada) are in support of the prolife stance on this issue. Slowly people are coming to see this issue as a one of a human right to life and not just one of choice.

    So, if society wishes to permit abortion as a medical procedure, it is clearly within its right to do so. It simply is coming to believe that it should not be considered among the pantheon of medical services provided by the state.

    This is a good thing!

    Fr. Tim

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  10. "You are interpreting the word "elective" from a different perspective than it is normally understood in health care. "Elective" is a determination of the medical profession & government as a label for services that are not deemed necessary for maintenance of ones heath.


    Actually, it's the other way around. It was the government and the health care "system" that applied that definition to "elective." I got it directly from a horse's...mouth.

    "Abortion is not a threat to a woman's health..."

    I think you might have meant to say pregnancy, rather than "abortion"... And whether or not a pregnancy would adversely affect a woman's health would be up to the individual woman. If a pregnancy is not wanted, you bet it will affect her health in a negative way! If her body is being subjected to a physical condition against her will, and if she knows there is a remedy for that condition, she will do anything she can to access that remedy. And if you try to prevent her from reaching her goal, she is very likely to react badly to your intervention.

    Women are not cows and sheep. We do not breed on command.

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  11. "A clear majority of Americans (and a growing number in Canada) are in support of the prolife stance on this issue."

    I don't know where you're getting your "information" on this, but if it has anything to do with polls and statistics, perhaps you ought to get yourself a large salt shaker. Disraeli was right, you know.

    But the crux of the problem is not just that some people think a fetus is a person with rights and some do not. The real point of the matter is that (whether or not a fetus is a legal "person") you may not impose the rights of a maybe-thing over and above the rights of an already-existing person -- the woman!

    As it now stands, there is still a choice, based on your personal belief system. If you think a fetus is a person, you are free to allow it to continue to develop. It's your body. You can do what you like with it, including allow it to incubate.

    But you cannot force a woman to give over control of her own body to something in which she does not believe.

    I've said it elsewhere: if you believe so much that a fetus is a person with rights, then you have to invent a way to allow its development without imposing on an unwilling woman's body.

    It's that simple.

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  12. Lady Janus: I am not denying women any right whatsoever! If abortions are to be legal within the land, so be it! It is an entirely different thing to say that this is a necessary medical procedure that should be paid for by government health care dollars. If I would have to pay for laser eye surgery or most other elective procedures, so too should women have to pay for their own abortion.

    If woman's groups want to raise funds to pay for others who cannot afford the procedure, that it their right. Tax dollars (when they are in such short supply - especially in these tough economic times) should not be spent on medical procedures for only the reason than someone "wants" it.

    Pregnancy is not a danger to a woman's health. Its termination does not warrant government funds just because a woman wants one.

    Like the song says... "you can't always get what you want."

    Fr. Tim

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  13. "It is an entirely different thing to say that this is a necessary medical procedure that should be paid for by government health care dollars."

    Those are not the government's dollars. The government doesn't have any dollars. They are my dollars. And yours. And everyone else's. The government takes those dollars and attempts to administer them. Government's track record in this area is one of woeful incompetence. However, overthrowing the government by force is frowned upon, so until we get a new way of dealing with this issue, we're stuck with it. And by "we," I mean all of us.

    The purpose of socialized health care is to provide care for those who cannot afford it on their own. Yes, they tend to pay into it unequally, and it might seem like they use it more frequently, but that is the result of an uneven society in which the word "equality" is more than just eight letter strung together in a pronounceable manner.

    If it's more than simple cosmetics, it ought to be paid for by our health care plan. That includes chiropractic, basic dental, cancer screenings, and reproductive health. Breast or penile implants you can pay for yourself (and if your job requires them, they should be tax deductible).

    As for whether or not a pregnancy is a danger to a woman's health...as I said before, that depends on the woman. Always.

    ReplyDelete

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