Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Perspective | May 27, 2019)
by Noreen Wise
The House Congressional Budget Office attempted to shed light on the pressing healthcare issues Wednesday May 22, 2019, during a robust exchange of bipartisan ideas shared at its hearing on a potential single payer healthcare system for America.
Fielding questions from the House CBO Committee members was a panel of experts:
- Mark Hadley, Deputy Director, Congressional Budget Office
- Dr. Jessica Banthin, Deputy Assistant Director for Health, Retirement, and Long-Term Analysis, Congressional Budget Office
- Dr. Jeffrey Kling, Associate Director for Economic Analysis, Congressional Budget Office
After several rounds of questions and answers between House Representatives and the panel of witnesses, it seemed clear that there is bipartisan support for unravelling the healthcare tangled knots of challenges and finding solutions for each one. Doing so will enable a bipartisan push towards creating a strong healthcare system for all Americans. The following are several key areas that need to be addressed in order to reach a bipartisan agreement:
- Finding a way for Americans with strong private healthcare plans, provided by their employer, to keep these plans if they so choose. Typically, these healthcare plans are associated with America’s largest companies.
- The vast majority of large companies are located in specific regions of the country, as well as in certain cities. For example, silicon valley employs nearly 1 million people. They likely all have exceptional healthcare and won’t want to change it, nor should they have to.
- However, just a few hundred miles away it may be that the majority of employers are small mom & pops who struggle to provide adequate healthcare for themselves as well as the few employees they may have, and are eagerly awaiting a government healthcare plan.
- A substantial percent of the employed work as contractors and are simultaneously reliant of alternative solutions.
- IT infrastructure. A looming obstacle for establishing one giant healthcare plan for America, is crafting the IT plan for securing all medical records and making them accessible anywhere. An example cited was the modernization of securing the VA health records.
- The IRS seems to have this down and may be a potential roadmap for healthcare.
- Our election systems are another possible pathway that can be duplicated for health records. However, we’ve recently learned that this intricate system can be successfully hacked.
- The GOP House Representative who raised the IT roadblock, seemed to be implying that this was the reason why we would never be able to implement a massive national healthcare program. But again, we have several expansive systems already in place that can be be potentially duplicated and modified for healthcare. Breaking down the large national map into smaller state components, divided into districts just like our voting districts, seems like an effective starting point on the IT front.
- Competition. Our American system of free markets has proven that competition results in innovation, strengthens ingenuity and resourcefulness, and drives down prices. It was apparent at the hearing, that a bipartisan majority believe that competition will improve the quality and price of healthcare in America.
- Toxic and contaminated zones that impact health. Certain parts of the country are more toxic than others. Industries such as coal and oil, farming communities with toxic fertilizers, military bases, superfund sites, polluted city air all impact health and create a large pool of Americans who are often born with pre-existing conditions as well as impacted with health conditions at a young age. It’s self-evident that these Americans have been impacted health wise through no fault of their own and should be covered by some type of medical plan that can aid with managing their care – ie, healthcare support similar to what was provided to those who worked at Ground Zero following 9/11.
- The real cost of healthcare. The real cost of healthcare is mystifying, but thanks to technology, it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out. What we know instinctively as individuals by going through bills with a fine-tooth comb, is that there’s a huge markup and that none of us would pay that price if we had to cover everything on our own. But since the insurance company writes the check for a significant portion, we often let it go, even if when frustrated. However, a certain percent of Americans end up filing for bankruptcy when the monster medical bills begin to roll in.
- Miscellaneous. Establishing creative solutions for those who believe in natural and holistic methods for staying healthy, and are willing to cover the cost of their own vitamins and wellness regemines, and only need healthcare for a catastrophic event. There are currently no alternatives for this slice of the public if they’re over the age of 30. And yet, there’s an increasing number each year who fall into this particular niche. An effective healthcare plan should find ways to grow this niche.
If we’re willing to find common ground in these specific areas, and are open to comprise, then we should be able to find a path that will lead to bipartisan support for a healthcare overhaul sooner rather than later.
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