Because of the diversity of people and their needs, America should have multiple health CARE plans and multiple health COVERAGE plans. The health care needs of an adult is different then the health care needs of a child; likewise, other examples: Young adults and senior citizens, men and women, singles compared to married couples and families, police and soldiers compared to civilians. One system like ObamaCare – Affordable Care Act – can’t fit everyone and should not be applied to everyone. However, I have an idea that could tie it all together with freedom of choice and greater flexibility with immediate results, plus reduction of cost and elimination of fraud.
Health Care Coverage CREDIT instead of Health Care Coverage INSURANCE.
Every American gets a Health Care Credit/Debit Card, similar to normal credit/debit cards, and comparable to EBT cards for SNAP (food stamps) benefits.
Like any business transaction, the card is used to immediately pay-in-full all doctors, clinics, hospitals, and all other health care sources for their services and products, including pharmacies for prescription drugs and stores for nonprescription drugs. As is, Medicare, for example, currently pays about 30 cents on the dollar, taking months just to pay that much, causing doctors to abandon Medicare and Medicare patients. Medicaid is worse. Further, there is the issue of fraud costing taxpayers a lot of money.
The user of the card is free to at anytime chose any doctor, any service, any product, any purchase. No delay. No approval needed – up to the level of credit allowed for each user or up to amount in user account for debit cards. As is, there’s too much requirement of approval by administrative people whose decisions are made based on business profit instead of what is in the best interest of a patient. It is money first and actual health care last – if any at all.
The money for Health Care Coverage Credit Cards, and put into accounts for Debit Cards, would come from different sources based on the classification of each user. Likewise, the cards would be issued by different sources – again based on classification of each user.
- Insurance Companies (for transition to credit)
- Banks and Credit Card Companies (offering the special cards)
- Credit Card Companies
- Schools, colleges, universities
- Doctors (clinics, hospitals) can also issue their own credit/debit cards
User classifications may include…
- Working adults
- Disabled adults
- Senior adults
- Retired adults
- Unemployed adults
- Military (and Law Enforcement)
- Students – adults
A Health Care Coverage Credit/Debit Card transaction could happen as follows, example…
I get a throat infection, go to doctor. Card immediately pays for office visit, shot in butt, then pharmacy for prescription drugs. End of month, I get billed for the total. If more than I can afford to pay in one payment, then depending on the card source a payment plan could be set up, and the bill could also be automatically submitted to various sources of aid – including government and charities. Your employer might help to pay some or all of it. Or a university if you are a student. The average American can afford basic health care. More expensive health care cataclysms could be covered by various aid sources. The Credit Card may have a credit limit based on income. The use of the Debit Card would of course be limited to how much money is in the card account, so a user can’t spend more than they have, can’t buy more than they can afford; there’s no credit. If the bill is to be more than the card user can afford to pay in a month, then it is up to the creditor (doctor) to offer a payment plan, and to submit the bills to various sources offering payment aid.
Like any business or store selling products and services, health care would then become walk-in, no appointment necessary, first-come first-served. You get sick or get a minor injury, go to doctor or clinic, get immediate service, doctor or clinic gets paid immediately, and then credit payment plans or special aid is applied.
There could be Health Care Malls, like major shopping malls, where like different stores there are different kinds of doctors and services – including dentists and optometrists, as well as pharmacies and stores for various health care products. All in one place with a parking garage and public transportation access. Each city should have at least one Health Care Mall – or Health Care Mini-Malls for smaller cities. A variation of this could be milti-service clinics, where a kind of general exam is completed – for physical and/or mental – a kind of triage, and then the customer is taken along a kind of service line, like an assembly line in a factory, so that by the time you come out the other end your body has been repaired. Think of it as like “Rapid Lube and Oil” for your car but instead for your body. If I were to go to such a place today, as an outpatient, I’d get my hernia repaired, get teeth repaired, and get new eyeglasses – ALL instantly paid for with a Credit/Debit Health Care Card, and then if needed a payment plan would be set up apart from any aid I’d qualify for from government or other sources.
ObamaCare is not CARE. It is about COVERAGE. The government does not provide CARE, just help to pay for COVERAGE, unless some doctors are government employees – like for the military. As is, there are no government doctors for civilians. Only doctors provide actual CARE.
I was born in 1956. Since about 1990, COVERAGE has been given priority over CARE. So when you walk into a doctor’s office or clinic or hospital the first question is about how you will PAY rather than what’s wrong with you – not how can they HELP you.
Medicare is failing because it does not pay what it should. Government COVERAGE is useless if no doctor is willing to accept it. As is, I have full coverage Medicare, Medicaid (SoonerCare in Oklahoma), and qualified for additional coverage such as for co-pay, but no “primary care” doctor willing to accept it.
Further clarification for credit system: You go to doctor. Doctor treats you. Full payment is made to doctor with health care coverage credit card. That part of it is a done deal. The doctor has been paid in full and paid immediately. Then it is up to the provider of the card to collect the amount owed from the user and others. There may be a service charge, and interest charged depending on how long it takes to collect full payment. Some money will come from the card user based on income if any. Some money may come from the government if the user qualifies for government aid. Any balance may come from other sources such as a charity helping low income and no income people. Some of it could be part of a benefits package provided by an employer, or a business offering customers the coverage, or a university caring for its students.
It is in the best interest of GOVERNMENT to make sure all of its citizens are in good health – able to work – able to receive income – able to pay taxes – to include paying for health care – so it goes full circle.
With government, it is taxes. With businesses, it is service fees and interest charged on credit.
It is in the best interest of BUSINESS (businesses, stores, and employers) to make sure all of its PERSONNEL are in good health to be able to work, and CUSTOMERS to be able to work – to have income – to be able to buy their products and services – so it goes full circle. For example, Walmart could offer a Health Care Coverage Credit/Debit Card to customers, not just its own personnel. Putting a walk-in minimal health care service in the store next to the pharmacy would keep the money there, so it would be a good investment.
Our society must benefit more from healthy people so that the incentive is to keep them healthy as an investment, so when health is restored THEN the money flows because people are working and have income to spend – benefit businesses, and to be taxed – benefit government (federal, state, county, and city). HEALTH FIRST, then the money will flow. As is, it has become backwards, and that is one of the reasons why it is failing.
If we continue down the road of MONEY FIRST and then health care, there is a danger of our society having state-assisted suicide as a means to throw away broken and old people who can’t afford health care, like in the movie Soylent Green. Discard rather than maintain.
Another change that became noticeable to me by 1990, is replacement of some products instead of repair of some products. Small household appliances, for example. I remember the mixer my mother had, made of metal, rarely broke, and stood the test of time. Less expansive to repair it when it did break or needed simple routine maintenance (like having the worn-down motor brushes replaced). Then came plastic and composite material appliances, costing much less to replace one than to repair it. So much less expensive that it is better to trash a defective mixer and buy a new one than to go to the time and trouble of replacing it under a warranty program or otherwise trying to have it repaired. Now our society is on the science fiction edge of replacing rather than repairing people. So it cost less to produce a new human than it does to fix a sick or broken human. The grey area is if it is a totally new human with a new consciousness and soul in need of being educated and trained, or if it is a consciousness and soul being transplanted into a new body. The first would be bad for those who want to live. The second would be the ultimate health care. Get a new car and driver, or the driver gets a new car, rather than repairing the old or wrecked one. The human body is like a car. The driver is the soul. Each of us needs a healthy body for transportation while visiting this planet. Like traveling to another city via air travel and then renting a car when you get there. The body is biological, but in the future replacement bodies could be artificial – lasting longer, but like all human-made products will likely need routine maintenance and repairs. A different kind of health care. Then again the choice, repair or replace.
Editorial Article by Jim Lantern
Tuesday morning, 28 March 2017
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