Saturday, January 28, 2017

Obamacare Replacement

I am a retired minister, Cherokee Indian and U.S. Army veteran that has received medical care in the private sector, Indian Health Services and the VA.  My personal experience with these services prompts me to write this letter because the healthcare model they present is seemingly being ignored in the debate over how to replace Obamacare.

The healthcare afforded American Indians and veterans, has always provided me with quality care and the added benefit of voluntary participation on my part.  At various times during my working career, I had employer provided healthcare and during those times, I used private sector healthcare.  The point is that when private health insurance was unaffordable or unavailable I could use IHS or VA services, free from the fear of bankruptcy, or unreasonably high insurance rates.  This government provided safety net has allowed me, not an insurance company, to be in control of my health care.

In my opinion, our broken healthcare system is the result of insurance companies controlling healthcare and the way to fix the problems is to put individuals back in control.

Our government has years of experience in IHS and VA healthcare, providing models that could be expanded to the general population with fees for healthcare based on family incomes.  For those that do not wish to use the services, they would be free to purchase insurance and use private sector services. 

Some inherent advantages in this system are:

1.        Insurance companies, healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, or anyone involved in healthcare will have to compete for the business of those that choose to use the private sector, resulting in lower costs overall.

2.        The fee based on income for Public Health Service (PHS) care allows all Americans to have healthcare, but as the fee rises for those with higher incomes, it becomes more economical to purchase insurance and use private services.

3.        The other side of the equation in item 2 is that pricing pressures on insurance and healthcare services will always be downward because higher prices will drive private customers back to the PHS.

4.        Unlike a single payer system, this will not force insurance companies or private healthcare providers out of business, by forcing people to use the system.  It is a voluntary system for those that do not have health insurance or the means to pay for private care.

5.        This system can effectively incorporate existing subsidies for low income healthcare, Medicare, Medicaid and other existing programs, thereby providing, along with the fees charged, enough money to fund this new program without further deficits or tax increases.

6.        This system will allow Americans choice and therefore, control of their healthcare by eliminating the strangleholds forced by threat of financial ruin, or lack of healthcare.


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