How to finance healthcare in the United States has become a political and moral issue. We are currently spending 20% of GNP on healthcare. Yet our infant mortality is higher, life expectancy is lower and the increasing number of our population is receiving meager often substandard care than other developed nations.
We have excellent medical personnel, superb hospitals and world renowned research facilities. However, the high cost of care and the uneven distribution of care is due primarily the results of a chaotic system of financing and payments. Medicare, Medicaid and For Profit health insurance companies all contribute to a patch work of programs that are costly and inefficient. The recently enacted “Affordable Health Care” plan is an attempt to correct our system. However, it is generally agreed that initially the cost of care will increase and the equality-distribution of care will be uneven at best.
What then is the solution that will provide quality care for our population without bankrupting our nation’s resources?
1. We need to determine who will be included in healthcare:
A. Universal care for everyone living in the united States and its territories?
B. Citizens covered with employers’ plans, the balance insured by government programs with dollar limitations?
2. Who will pay the medical cost?
A. Government, either Federal or State Plans?
B. Private enterprise (employer based) ?
C. Individual vouchers and and welfare (Medicare/Medicaid)?
3. How will funds be collected?
B. Individual policies ?
C. Employer or group coverage
4. How will limitations be established? This needs to determined, because without some method of limitations, costs will balloon out of control.
A. Policy dollars?
C. Annual budget amounts?
Currently we have an odd mixture of free enterprise and government programs that is producing high cost and unequal care.