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Title: Blog by Novelist William S. Frankl, MD

What?! Alternatives to ObamaCare??

All right.  Here’s the scenario.  It’s midnight.  It’s raining.  The roads are slick.  Someone is driving an 18 wheeler.  Just as it gets to the top of the hill and begins to descend, the driver finds that his brakes are dead. And as he frantically pumps away at those dead brakes, he sees you at the bottom of the hill in a stalled vehicle filled with other men, women and children.
Of course, that’s disaster. And that’s ObamaCare.

Okay.  You may remember, I had a post on Obamacare: May 13th. Now lets look at whether there are any alternatives.  There are and that’s what this post is all about.

There are four Republicans, two in the House (Ryan and Nunes), and two in the Senate (Coburn and Burr) who have crafted an alternative to the administration’s plans for reforming the health-care system.  It’s called the Patients’ Choice Act.  The bases for the plan are: redirect present subsidies for health insurance to individuals; and guarantee coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.  What are the details?
First is redirection of the annual $300 billion tax subsidy for employment-based health insurance to individuals in the form of tax credits.  Families would get $5,700/ year and individuals $2,300/year to buy insurance and invest in health savings accounts.  Low-income individuals would get a  $5,000 debit card to help purchase insurance and pay out of pocket costs. 25% of any money left in the accounts at the end of the year would be rolled over to the next year.
States would be able to sponsor one-stop Insurance shopping through Health Care Exchanges instead of allowing the federal government to control the process.  It would free up Medicare dollars and  give more resources to the states to increase the allowances to disabled and low income individuals.
This approach would allow doctors and patients to control the health care system rather than politicians.  Good idea,huh?

And one other item––– the uninsured. Allegedly they are the major reason to reform health care. About 47% of the 47 million uninsured are without insurance for less than four months.  They are people between jobs and are eligible for COBRA coverage for 3.5 months before a premium is due. Many are young people. Many decide to forgo this expense.  Another 4-5 million of the 47 million are really enrolled in Medicaid and are uncounted according to the Congressional Budget Office.  There are millions who are eligible for Medicaid but don’t enroll for various reasons. And, it is estimated that 25 to 40% of the 47 million are undocumented aliens, the group responsible for the progressive increase of the “uninsured.” If these numbers are correct, and I think they are, should we spend billions of dollars to fix a problem that is easily fixable without the expense.

There are ways to avoid that 18 wheeler careening down on us. Will we find them?

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