Health Insurance - How To Cover Everyone

There is now a substantial portion of the population in the United States, which is unhappy with their health care coverage or lack thereof. There are approximately 46 million uninsured in the US.

Health care costs in the US keep rising, and in most years health insurance premiums do too.

Disease Prevention expenses as a portion of Gross Domestic Product now account for some 16% of the budget while only 4% is spent on Disease Prevention, and 50% of diseases are preventable.

The Republicans by and large favor a private plan called Health Savings accounts to solve the Health Care problem. An overview of this program is that it allows businesses or individuals to contribute a certain amount of money tax free to a HSA (Health Savings Account) and take catastrophe or major medical insurance for the balance. The good part is that it encourages individuals to become Disease Prevention conscious because it is coming out of their HSA or pocket in effect. In major companies where the program has been instituted savings have been substantial. The drawback is that it tends to draw in young healthy people, and does nothing to help the aging, sick or uncovered portion of the population.

The Democrats by and large favor some form of Universal Health Care funded by the federal government. The good part is that everyone would be covered. The drawback is that there is no inducement by individuals to practice Disease Prevention because the government is picking up the tab and this might result in a new massive federally funded program that over time cannot be adequately funded by the government as it grows in light of our other entitlement problems with, Medicare and Medicaid and Prescription Drug Insurance.

Today we find ourselves at the crossroads of escalating Health Care Costs and social Health Care funding requirements that have brought us to the point of a collision.

The solution may lie in combining some form of both programs utilizing the platform of Health Savings Accounts, which are federally funded to the extent needed to subsidize them so that everyone could be covered including those with pre existing conditions either through a series of federal corporate or individual tax credits, or with direct contributions in their name to fund the program.

The costs of funding this combined approach might be substantially less than under a straight Universal Health Care plan because people would have the incentive to practice Disease Prevention once they understand that it is their money that they are spending on their health care, which can be rolled over from year to year similar to an IRA, and because catastrophe insurance is generally less expensive then the current all inclusive small deductible type insurance program being offered.

To this end, a Disease Prevention Program should be made available to everyone that will help them maintain a better state of health, and enable them to minimize their health care expenses in keeping with good medical practice and the utilization of best care options.

We have to teach people how to practice Disease Prevention at the same time that we seek to cover them with Health Insurance if we want to produce a program, which in the long run can be self-funding through medical cost savings.

By Arthur Levine


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