Hello dear reader(s)!
This post is not about fuck buddies. I am talking about the kind of benefits you might get from a job. Benefits like good health insurance, 401K, a pension (if they still have those, and won’t sue to get out of them later), short and long-term disability benefits, a large coke, and a side of onion rings.
I remember when I didn’t have any benefits. I had friends with benefits, that I was very jealous of. Having no health insurance sucked. I was always scared something catastrophic would happen if I were to get sick or injured. I racked up a lot of medical debt during that time, from the non-catastrophic but still emergent things I needed done.
Eventually, I got a job with good benefits. It came right in time as only about a year later I really started showing signs that I had cancer. I was extremely fortunate to have had that job and those benefits when I did. My company self-insured, but used a major insurance company to administer their plan. It was a great plan, much better than any of the standard plans you see on the exchanges, or even with a good Medicare Advantage plan.
Now class, pay attention, because here is where I propose a plan for healthcare in this nation that might actually be feasible. Ready?
Start by taking away the exchange and individual insurance markets from the health insurance companies, and give everyone not on a group plan Medicare. We will not get a Medicare-for-all system as long as these companies are buying our politicians. Even taking away the individual markets will require some strength on the part of those in power, but it will make those officials hugely popular with their constituents. In exchange for losing the individual markets to Medicare, they can open their Medicare Supplemental and Medicare Advantage plans to those new Medicare recipients, provided those plans closed the donut-hole for prescriptions. Some revenue for them would be better than none to them, which is the only other viable alternative.
In the meantime, the insurance companies can continue to insure and administer group plans, but all ACA requirements on plan quality must remain, and the plans must cover at least what Medicare does, for less cost to the employee, so that those plans are not seen as punishment for working. Health coverage from a job should be an actual benefit.
Medicare should be allowed to then negotiate with pharmaceutical companies and other provider groups to lower healthcare costs.
My proposal would be paid for by lifting the payroll tax cap, a cut to the growth rate of our defense budget, and by folding the VA into the new Medicare system, and selling the facilities and assets to private hospital groups to be privately run, provided they agree to all of Medicare’s rules. Our veterans will no longer have to wait and be neglected at some sub-standard facility. Veteran’s Medicare would not have coinsurance but would be administered by Medicare rather than having a separate department and more overhead.
I would attempt to phase out the insurance companies from group plans as well, allowing those companies to reconfigure and find other ways to remain in business, but that would likely be a non-starter until automation has made employment obsolete and most of us are on a universal basic income.
Any representative who wishes to advance this or a similar proposal in order to fix the broken healthcare system in this country is more than welcome to do so, and can take all the credit for it.
The only thing I ask in return is that I have healthcare when I need it.