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How would you “fix” healthcare?

July 27, 2017

This one has about as many answers as there are people to ask. Still, we did ask and here’s how that worked out.

Out of 74 people, 70 felt that everyone should have a right to access to low cost insurance for basic healthcare like routine exams, exams for things like flu or diabetes or care for minor injuries without having to choose between food, rent or insurance.  Four weren’t sure if it was a “right” but supported some form of care.

For those Democrats who say Medicare for all, retirees wanted to mention that even basic Medicare Part B isn’t free, costing from a little over $100 to well over $200 a month if you also have  Part D (prescription) coverage. That’s often 10 to 20% of their retirement check.   It’s also unclear how that would work for people now on Medicaid.

Here are the other questions and answers by the numbers.

  1. How do you propose to handle coverage for the poor? Pick your top 2.
  2. Enact a separate payroll or sales tax to fund a new government program. 49 said yes.
  3. Add funding out of existing revenue to Medicaid by cutting other programs. 6 yes
  4. Require providers and insurers to “donate” a percentage of their revenues to indigent care, perhaps in the form of an excess profits tax. 23 yes.
  5. Put them all on Medicare. 4 yes.
  6. Should anyone, regardless of citizenship status, receive “free” routine medical care?
  7. No, citizens or legal residents only. 60 chose this.
  8. Yes, but with annual limits. 8 chose this.
  9. Yes, no limits. 6 chose this.
  10. Medicare and Medicaid are both supposed to go bankrupt before 2030. How would you stop that from happening? (Pick your top two)
  11. Increase payroll taxes until funds are solvent. 57 yes votes
  12. Apply a means test annually so people who can pay do so. 67 yes votes
  13. Increase retirement age to 70. 1 vote.
  14. Apply an actual “lockbox” to funding for these programs, so the funds are secured. 74 yes.
  15. Apply price controls to providers. 63 yes.
  16. Was your coverage and choice of providers better or worse under the ACA (Obamacare?)
  17. Worse (64)
  18. Better (10)
  19. Do you approve or disapprove of requiring able-bodied people to work if they can to get government funded health insurance ?
  20. Approve (54)
  21. Disapprove (8)
  22. Depends on individual circumstances (10)
  23. Don’t know. (2)
  24. Do you approve or disapprove of how Congress is handling the health insurance issue?
  25. Disapprove (74)
  26. Approve (0)
  27. Have the penalties or fines or taxes mandated on both individuals and companies created any hardship for you personally?
  28. Yes. (69)
  29. No. (5)
  30. Would you support just ending the mandates and workplace hours and staffing requirements?

Yes.  (74)

So there you have it. As the President said “Healthcare is hard.”  Some people wrote comments.  For instance in Question 5, answer 3, some said it didn’t make sense for people to have to work, if the government had to subsidize childcare for them to do so.

On the other hand, no one is happy with current efforts to “fix” insurance. Interestingly, a majority would be OK with forking over higher payroll taxes to fund a new program, and/or stabilize the old ones. That runs directly counter to the Republican mantra of no new taxes. The people are apparently a bit more realistic than their “leaders.”

They are not OK with offering routine care to people in the country illegally. (Remember, emergency care is already a guaranteed right).

And they think that the people “getting rich” on healthcare should have to pick up more of the tab than they do now.

Reports of multi-million dollar salaries for executives in the pharma, healthcare and insurance arenas have not gone unnoticed, with many asking how these high payments and bonuses contribute at all to paying for research on new drugs, not to mention that they do nothing to help pay for patient care.

Also, in view of the various votes on the Senate version(s) of the AHCA or whatever they are calling it today, pay particular attention to who has been against pretty much everything so far. At some point, you may have to ask yourselves who are the real obstructionists.

The ultimate point to be made is that Washington, no matter the party affiliations, still seems out of touch with the people. If these answers run true throughout the country, it would seem that expecting an instant fix is both unrealistic and unworkable.

Given that the ACA is so thoroughly interwoven into our reality, maybe eating that elephant with a small knife and fork isn’t a bad idea, but it’s a meal that has to be eaten.

From → op-ed

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