In his post entitled "Health Care and Deficit Drivers," David Holmes shows that we must deal with healthcare costs if we hope to contain and eliminate deficits. Here are suggestions that would substantially reduce government healthcare costs.
1. Tort Reform – I will do a short Post on tort reform in the next few weeks.
2. Comprehensive tax reform including termination of the income exemption for employer-medical contributions.
3. Need-based Medicare co-pays and Social Security benefits, including for present recipients. Many plans exempt present recipients – present recipients (my generation) should participate in the solution for our country and the generations following us because we benefited from job opportunities that are no longer as broadly available. The post-WWII economy benefited us because of the coincidence of when we were born.
4. By law Medicare must cover a treatment that has some benefit regardless of cost and extent of the benefit. For example Medicare pays $93,000 for prostate cancer patients to receive Provenge, a treatment that prolongs patients' lives for 4 months. In deciding what Medicare should cover, we should take into account the cost of a medical treatment and the extent of a treatment's benefit.
5. Medicare has a co-pay. Seniors can insure against the co-pay with Medigap policies. Medicare should require some minimum amount that cannot be insured against so that we have to pay something for each medical visit. Cost should be part of the patient's decisions regarding care.
6. Provide uniform claim forms for Medicare and all insurers to simplify hospital and doctor office work.
What additional suggestions do readers have?