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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Simple Health Care Reform

Guest Post by Joseph Morris

The current debate over health care reform in the United States is centered around the question, “Who should pay, and how do we cover those who cannot pay?”

I believe the more directed question should be “How do we get health care to those who cannot pay?” As most of the country is covered by private health insurance and is happy with the cost and care they are receiving, let us only address that minority who are uncovered and leave the rest alone. What they need is free care.

A simple proposal:

Allow every health care professional; doctors, nurses, chiropractors, physical therapists, homeopaths, etc. to deduct from their personal federal income taxes, dollar for dollar, at their going rate, for every hour of free care that they give.

Allow every care facility; hospitals, clinics, etc, and manufacturer/distributor; pharmaceutical companies,. pharmacies, wheelchair companies, bandage mmanufacturers, etc. to deduct from their corporate income taxes, dollar for dollar, at their market rate, for every product or service that they give.

The Results:

Patients who cannot pay will be provided with private, local care unencumbered by federal or state government bureaucracy.

Medical providers can donate their services to whatever income level they seek to achieve. 50/50 to pay no taxes, 60/40 to pay some taxes, donate all their time in order to offset other income streams, etc. They can schedule their free hours within their offices, or spend time at free clinics.

Medicare/Medicaid will be rendered obsolete before they become insolvent.

Enforcement falls to the IRS which carries an established reputation and would only audit the hours given in service and would not be concerned with the care given.

This will be a new incentive for prospective medical professionals to enter the field. Watch the no tax days at the beginning of the school year to understand the inordinate joy that the public takes in sticking it to the government.

Accessibility to free care will be limited by provider choices and thus will serve as an incentive for those who can pay to stay insured.

Health care providers will advertise for uninsured patients as the fiscal year closes.

Even if every provider overstated his donations by 100% every year, it would still be cheaper than anything else being proposed.

Joe Morris, small business owner


Patrick said...

I agree that this is a good recommendation for targeted cost reductions. However, a recent PBS special that showed how this is currently going on in a limited way with "free healthcare days" in some poor, small towns can't fund the individual pharm prescriptions later. The suggestion would reduce overall short-term costs, but long term medicine management continues to be a costly issue. This is just a guess, but I'd suggest that pharms are probably half or more of the cost of overall healthcare costs for most individuals. Some way to bring those costs down and your recommendation together would probably work.

Brendan said...

During the 2008 primary, Republican candidate Duncan Hunter proposed a similar idea, basically to provide generous tax incentives for doctors to open low-cost clinics in poor urban areas. It surprised me how deafeningly it was ignored.

To be honest I prefer his discount idea to this free one, but the fact that you point out that even a 200% subsidy would be far cheaper than is what is currently being debated says a lot.

Bill Hoog said...

Obamacare is not about providing healthcare - it's about CONTROL!!

Anonymous said...

Terrible flaw in your argument:

"As most of the country is... happy with the cost and care they are receiving"


Patrick said...

Anonymous, you would appear to be incorrect again.

"Among insured Americans, 82 percent rate their health coverage positively. Among insured people who've experienced a serious or chronic illness or injury in their family in the last year, an enormous 91 percent are satisfied with their care, and 86 percent are satisfied with their coverage."

"In this poll, 64 percent of insured people remain satisfied with their own health care costs."

Anonymous said...

That link doesn't work, Patrick. Try again.

Anonymous said...

Good idea and it's a great place to start, but how does it help non-profit hospitals? They don't pay taxes anyway.

Anonymous said...

What about another proposal to add to that of the doctors' contribution of time and talent: allow Americans to contribute to a fund (sugggested name: Healthy Neighbor Deduction) that would allow dollar for dollar deduction from same contributor's State or Federal income taxes(depending on which entity would be meddling in the oversight of the program - or maybe not necessarily a government office?) for contributions to insure one's under/uninsured American neighbor. Add to that the possibility that insurance companies receiving for management purposes such monies to take on 'high risk' or currently deeemed 'uninsurable' persons (in order to obtain 'negotiated' rates from health care providers) could, through some number crunching mechanism, reduce the cost of the currently insured since the expenses of the under/uninsured would now be better met at the health care provider level (no need to charge exorbitant fees).
...Just trying to put faith into action.

Anonymous said...

They already are allowed to deduct as you recommend. Try again.