Friday, July 11, 2008

My views on issues: Healthcare

For this month, I'm going to give a brief rundown of my views on issues for those of you who might be new to my blog. Today will be on healthcare.

I had given this some serious thought, and here's what I came up with: Nationalized health care or socialized health care would be a bad idea, because such a top-down imposition pretends that what works in the state of New York will work in South Dakota. But NY has vastly more people than does SD, as well as a great deal more money in their budget. Also, their populations are vastly different. Thus, with all that in mind, the healthcare demands for each state are going to be vastly different. Funding for a national health care program is going to go largely to the superstates of New York, California, and Texas, because their populations are so much bigger. But someone in need of cancer treatments in Idaho is just as much in need of that treatment as someone in California. So, what to do?

My idea is to eventually phase out Medicare completely and let the states take it up. DON'T FREAK OUT - I'm not saying that we should leave certain needy populations in the lurch! Rather, what I think we should do is take the federal gov't out of the equation, and with all those taxes that are freed up from that, let the states deal with healthcare. AND, we'll let each state decide what kind of healthcare to provide - but with the stipulation that each state MUST come up with a plan to take care of as many of their citizens as possible. That is, each state must provide at least their version of Medicare to help the neediest of their population.

In order for a state-by-state strategy to work, we must allow each state to tailor their healthcare programs to meet the needs of their respective populations. That is, if New York and California want to have socialized medicine in all its glory, then they'll need to sell their plan to their respective populations, along with their ideas on how they plan to fund it. But if Texas and Missouri decides that they prefer to largely leave healthcare to HMOs, then they can do that - but again, with the stipulation that these HMOs provide some means of covering everybody. Other states could try a combination of the two, of having HMOs for most people, but a state Medicare plan for the most neediest.

The benefit of a state-by-state plan is that we get to see what type of health plan works best, and what doesn't work at all. A federally-imposed "one size fits all" plan does not allow for such experimentation, and it's guaranteed to fail, because the healthcare needs are different from state to state. States that manage to develop successful healthcare programs will draw more doctors and healthcare providers, along with an influx of new people once that state gains the reputation of providing excellent health care. This will also pressure underperforming states to do better, or they'll suffer a drain of medical staff as well as population.

So what I'm suggesting is not totally a free-market solution, but it does try to tap into what makes the free-market philosophy work the best. What we as Americans try to do is to serve the greatest number of people in the best way possible, and I think my plan is the best way of going about that.

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