By Jack E. Lohman
State Senator Ted Kanavas (R-Brookfield) is right about one thing: the health insurance mandate in Massachusetts is terrible and we should not mimic it in Wisconsin. Neither should we accept the insurance mandates proposed by the presidential candidates.
We should not be mandating the one element of our current health care system that is the biggest waste of all health care dollars. Instead, we should totally remove it so those wasted dollars could be spent appropriately on needed health care.
Don’t expand insurance, get rid of it.
The senator has it wrong about universal healthcare. People will not be “mandated” to go to the doctor. They will go if and when they need to, and they’ll have complete choice on who to see.
If done right – and that’s a big “IF,” given our current political system – our health care will be as simple as “you get sick, you get care, and the caregiver gets paid.”
We are not talking about Massachusetts, or an underfunded Canada, or socialized medicine. We are talking about Healthy Wisconsin (HW) and what it will do for our state’s citizens, employers and economy.
Healthy Wisconsin is none of the above. It is one statewide pool of patients rather than the 10,000 pools we have now, and it will allow the dollars to be spent on “care” rather than duplicative insurance administration.
People want to choose their caregiver, not their insurance company, and that’s the hallmark of Healthy Wisconsin. Few of us know ahead of time what kind of care we’ll need, or how much, so HW provides all care necessary. Could it be any simpler?
People want just one “plan.” You get sick, you get care, and the caregiver gets paid.
And this whole thing about creating a “market” that is controlled by the patient is pure fantasy. Sure, that’s the insurance industry spin and they’ve swayed some who don’t understand medicine. But patients will not and should not look for the lowest bidder. They should trust their physician to call the right shots, until there is reason not to.
There are areas of Healthy Wisconsin that can be improved on, and one is transitioning small businesses that have zero costs now because their employees get coverage under a spouses plan. That’s a form of cost shifting to the spouses employer, and we seem to live with that. But under HW “family coverage” is no longer needed because everybody is covered. Nonetheless, some sort of small business transitional system should be considered.
But no, we will not get something for nothing, as Kanavas charges. We’ll pay through taxes but we’ll pay for care and not for waste. And at a cost much lower than today.
Perhaps a meaningful option might be to eliminate 15% of our legislators’ insurance benefits, under-insure another 15%, and force the remaining into high-deductible health savings accounts. Then let’s watch them in action.
Actually, I like that one. 😉
The biggest problem is political, because many of our state legislators receive massive amounts of campaign funds from the insurance interests that enjoy the healthcare waste. Without that barrier politicians would restore our certificate of need program to prevent over-building of hospitals and over-purchasing of duplicative technology.
If money weren’t changing hands they’d actually, if you can believe this, do the right thing.