Hutchison: A modest proposal for fixing healthcare system
I had a conversation yesterday with a friend that works in the public sector. His health insurance is excellent. When I stated that our country needs nationalized health care, he responded, "But who's going to pay for it?" That is a good question, to which I have two answers.
The first answer is the one I have suggested before: All of us! All of us should have a portion of our income tax dedicated to pay for all of our healthcare. If income tax must rise to cover it (and I expect it will), OK. But the rise will be offset by the elimination of personal healthcare insurance premiums.
The second answer looks at the question from a different angle, starting with a question of its own: "How is your health insurance paid for now?" For most in the public sector, some of it is paid for by a payroll deduction, but the bulk of it is paid for by their employer — that is, you and I (the public)! Others of us, under the age of 65 and employed in the private sector, pay a part of it through a payroll deduction, but the bulk of it is paid for by their employers. Still others, those working less than full time, or as contract labor, or for small companies that just can't afford to provide health insurance as a benefit, must either pay the full price themselves, use a government subsidy (healthcare.gov) or go uninsured.
As you can see, most people with insurance are getting a subsidy, either from their private employer, or from the government (directly or indirectly). I suspect that the people that are opposed to nationalized health insurance don't understand that it isn't right or fair for them to get a subsidy while the rest of us don't.
I have an idea (yes, it's true). If we can't have a universal health insurance program, applied equally across the entire citizenry, then let's make it law that nobody gets health insurance through the government or their work. It cannot be a benefit paid for by your employer, whether a private employer, or any government entity. That includes senators, congressmen, cabinet members, armed forces — nobody. We can all buy it separately on the open market, and bear the full cost by ourselves, but it cannot be subsidized by our employers or the government or anything. Everybody will have to buy it based strictly on their actuarial profile. Young working people would get the best rates, of course, but would still be paying more out of pocket than they do now (should they choose to buy). Older people's rates would be through the roof, unaffordable for any but the ultra-rich.
The benefit (tongue fully in cheek) is some relief from overpopulation, since more people would "expire" as a significant portion could not afford insurance, neither could they afford treatment for whatever serious ailments they might have the misfortune to contract.
Harold Hutchison is a Forest Grove resident.
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