Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Two page health care bill

The whole health care debate has focused on getting health care for the uninsured. In an effort to address this, the Congress of the United States has passed a bill that is over 2000 pages long that still doesn't cover everybody.

It covers more, but not all.

If you really want to ensure access to health care, let providers deduct charitable care on their taxes. Maybe at rates that are a percentage of the established Medicare/Medicaid rates for the services.

Think about it, right now Joe goes to the ER with the sniffles. He gets triaged and sent back to a room. The ER doctor sees him and writes out a script for amoxicillin. Joe goes to pharmacy to fill script. Complains to pharmacist about the high cost of the script (six bucks). Pharmacist thinks how the heck is he going to pay for ER visit? Oh yeah, Joe is uninsured. Both the hospital and ER physician must absorb the loss.

Under my plan, both the hospital and physician get to deduct the cost of Joe's care. On April 15, the ER physician doesn't have to send Uncle Sam as much in taxes due to his charitable service.

Some local primary care physicians see that Dr ER keeps more of his income, so they decide to see some uninsured patients as well. The primary care doctors are able to identify some health issues and address them before they become emergencies. Pharmacy gets in on the act and delivers some charitable care by offering medications at either no cost or at a reduced price, taking the tax break.

Now Joe is able to see the same physician on a regular basis to have his medical needs addressed. The ERs are less crowded, seeing the true emergent cases. More hospitals stay open because they aren't losing money from seeing the uninsured. Hospitals aren't charging $14 for a Band-Aid to help make up for the losses they would have otherwise incurred. Granted there would have to be limits on how much charitable care could be claimed without being audited.

There you have it folks... health care reform in less than two pages. When converted into Congress-ese it might be ten pages. The federal government would still foot the bill as there would be a reduction in gross tax revenues, but I think it would be considerably less than the umpteen kabillion dollars that are going to be spent on HR 3590 if it becomes law.

1 comment:

charmcity said...

That is brilliant. It's a win-win for all parties.