Saturday, September 5, 2009

Fixing healthcare without a public option

I am in favor of a public option when it comes to healthcare. And frankly I am sick of my party bending over backwards for a vocal minority. I would rather not give a dime of my money to a for-profit insurance company that rations care to increase profits.

However thanks to the GOP's mob scene tactics and talking heads on TV, it may be compromised. Maybe fixing healthcare is a gradual process instead of something that could be done overnight. Here's a start to how to fix healthcare without invoking a public option.

1) Lower the age for Medicare from 65 to 55.
2) Raise the age to which young adults can be covered under by their parents' insurance to at least 25, maybe even 30.
3) End all TV and radio advertising for any of the following products. Prescription drugs, hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, medical devices (such as wheelchairs), and specialists and any center they may work at (such as a cancer treatment center). Beyond the Yellow Pages, most doctors and specialists should not advertise.
4) Audit the books every year of any for-profit company involved in healthcare including drug and insurance companies. If a company is holding back a cure for a disease because it's more profitable to treat it, they should be shut down.
5) Make gym memberships and other wellness programs tax-deductible for anyone regardless of income.
6) Focus more on preventative care rather than treatment. Yes it is less profitable, but in the long run it will produce a healthier population.
7) We need more primary care doctors. In order to achieve this, the federal government should offer forgiveness of student loan debt to anyone entering family practice who stays there for X years.
8) Doctors should be paid on salary (yes they deserve over 6 figures) instead of per procedure.
9) Look at the leading causes for the chronic diseases that our country is suffering from and use policy to treat the causes. For example our diets are a leading cause of obesity and diabetes. So first start with the federal school lunch program and slowly make menus healthier by replacing hot dogs with things like wraps. Make it that a consumer in all neighborhoods has healthier food available at a reasonable price. And PLEASE PLEASE end the government's subsidy of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). I drastically reduced the amount of HFCS in my diet and as a result lost 30 pounds. Perhaps adding a 1% tax to any product with HFCS in it would pay for any new healthcare initiatives.

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