Joe and Kamala time to come out for universal health care – Biden care in short – a winning campaign issue!
Joe and Kamala congratulations so far and I sure hope that you will become the next president and vice president. Kamala, I am a fellow Thousand Oaks alumni so although I went there a few years before you did, your selection as vice president was particularly pleasing to me and and all the other Thousand Oaks alumnae I’m sure.
I retired from the US State department in 2016 and have been residing in Korea half the year and half the year on the West coast. At some point I want to move back to my home town of Berkeley as I miss the Bay Area.
I have been blogging since I retired. You can see my postings at the world according to cosmos.com.
I have been thinking about health care reform for some time. It is clear that we need to join the rest of the world in setting up universal care for all Americans.
Addressing the healthcare crisis and not just the Covid crisis although that is obviously part of it, is a winning issue. Here’s what I would propose is a clear call for a transition to universal healthcare for all within your first term
Universal Access Requires Universal Participation
There are a few key principles involved. In order to get universal access you have to have universal participation. You will have to revive the idea of individual mandate you can sell this by saying that we have to think of health insurance the same way we think of auto insurance, it only works if everyone participates
Health insurance should be treated the same way as auto insurance. Everyone who drives a car must have insurance so that the cost of repairs and damages are socialized across the country and to an individual the cost is pretty modest. That is the only way car insurance can work, if auto insurance was optional few would get it leading to extreme costs for accidents and injuries to the individuals. This car insurance model should be the model for health insurance – the basic principle is everybody has has access because everyone participates.
Second medication should be expanded to all those under the age of 55 three Medicare part B should be replaced by secondary insurance that everybody would have prior to joining Medicare part B as we no it will disappear except for those who do not have any other insurance options
To facilitate and simplify things perhaps Medicaid and Medicare should be merged into just one program.
Private insurance should still play a key role in the insurance market but there has to be some modifications to the system. First one should be able to keep one’s insurance as one moves from job to job. Perhaps coverage would transfer within six months of moving to a new job and be done simply through an expanded open season. In any event, insurance has to be completely portable.
Second the government and corporations should continue to subsidize insurance so that no one pays more than $2000 a year per family. As a further simplification measure open season should be twice a year. During open season one could modify insurance easily shifting their insurance to the insurance offered by their new employer. The unemployed should continue to be covered by their last insurance and when people move to a new company and a new job then they should automatically transfer to the insurance offered by the new Employer.
For those who do not have insurance they should be allowed to buy in to the federal health employee program which would replace the Obamacare exchanges and again these would be subsidized by the federal government in order to keep the premiums down. The Obamacare exchanges should be allowed to merge with existing insurance companies, and phase out within a few year’s transition.
Another idea worth considering is allowing associations to group together to buy insurance for their members. For example all the restaurants in a city could buy an affordable health care insurance program for their member restaurants.
To keep cost down and make this manageable they should be a five year at four or five year transition to the new system but it must be clear to all this is how we are going to move the country to universal care
There are a few other issues that the Republicans will raise that are worth considering.
one would be allowing insurance companies compete nationwide this would provide efficiencies and be cost-effective.
Tort reform is another issue that needs to be address. I would limit malpractice suits to those cases where there is clear evidence of gross incompetence corruption or other factors that led to the injury or death and in any event there should be a cap of $1 million in damages and attorney fees should be capped at 30%. This tort reform greatly reduce his cost of healthcare across the country and it is something that’s very near and dear to Republicans and it’s something that I think needs to be part of the final package of reforms. The current system merely benefits vulture lawyers and not the general public and drives up costs for everyone and takes away money from providing quality care.
How to handle insurance coverage for foreigners would be one of the issues that has to be addressed. First for visitors and immigrants I would require people to get travelers health insurance before they come to the United States and if they don’t have insurance they should be denied a visa or entry to the states. Those who are undocumented should be given access to healthcare insurance as well. Insurance companies and hospitals should not be required to report to DHS the names and addresses of undocumented individuals that they encounter. DHS agent should be banned from stalking people at hospitals and clinics.
To pay for universal health care, I would I advocate a 1% income tax increase that would be dedicated to healthcare reform including providing subsidies etc.
Coupled with healthcare reform we need to have a dramatic increase in public health spending at all levels of the federal government including of course research and development.
Turning to Covid it is obvious that we need to do the mandatory mask requirement across the country and we need to make vaccines when they become available widely available and I would consider a mandate for vaccines again the argument that it should be an individual choice to get a vaccination or not should be counted by the argument that vaccines saves everybody’s lives and not getting a vaccine puts everybody at risk
The bottom line is that the US needs to joins the rest of the world in providing universal health care. Everybody participates and everyone gets the benefits.
In a nutshell the summer you need to call for universal healthcare coverage for all;, that the should government subsidize insurance premiums for all keeping insurance costs at less than 2,000 dollars per family per year; expansion of Medicare as well as merging medicaid, for all those over the age of 55 and or making less than 125% of of the natural income; those without insurance would be eligible to participate in the federal health insurance program; health insurance would be fully portable; every six months there would be an open season when people can easily change their insurance when they change jobs or relocate; there would be tort reform limiting malpractice claims, foreigners would have to buy insurance prior to visiting the US, and undocumented would have to be covered..
if you do all of this I think you have a very good chance of winning the election because affordable healthcare for all is a winning campaign issue.
This is so much better than our dysfunctional system where healthcare is only available really to those who have good jobs or have money to pay for coverage. In the richest country in the world we can and should be able to guaranteed healthcare for all Americans just like every other country in the world.
Good luck to both of you. You have my support.
Joe Go Bold or Go Home, revised