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More Letters to the Editor: Here’s a heath care plan that would work

Universal health care can be affordable

As the time for action on moving the U.S. toward universal health insurance coverage comes closer, I believe that the true costs of such an enterprise remain unclear.

This lack of clarity is a major political and practical impediment to progress. While I support universal coverage, I remain concerned about the cost of such a development and remain unconvinced that Medicare would be “saved” under currently suggested schemes.

Finally, I anticipate the usual level of partisan resistance to universal coverage. Therefore, I have tried to develop an approach that would move us toward universal coverage, significantly bolster Medicare and remain a largely private enterprise (with federal oversight).

For instance, I suggest that the federal government mandate creation of a new insurance product to be offered through the private sector. The product would be in addition to already existing private or government-subsidized major medical plans.

This product would be a catastrophic health policy that would cover all medical costs after an outlay of $50,000 in medical costs in any 12-month period either by either an individual or an individual’s major medical plan, including Medicare.

Such a policy, with a very high deductible and a huge risk pool of 300 million mostly healthy Americans, would cost a few dollars a month and could be funded through payroll deductions or direct payment.

This product would be required of every American of every age, creating a risk pool of more than 300 million mostly healthy subscribers. Such a new insurance product would not only bring down the cost of major medical health insurance for everyone, it would simultaneously “save” Medicare and reduce the costs of other types of insurance.

In summary, the features of this product would be:

• More than 300 million mandated subscribers, creating a huge, mostly healthy risk pool;

• Offered through the private sector;

• Monthly cost of a few dollars;

• Would become active after $50,000 in health care costs in any single calendar year;

• Would revert to the individual’s major medical policy after one year, with a new $50,000 outlay requirement.

The effect of such a product would be:

• An immediate decrease in the cost of major medical health insurance, since there would be an $50,000 limit on annual costs to the insurer;

• A consequent increased affordability of the now lowered cost major medical policies to individuals or companies.

• An increased capacity to accept pre-existing conditions, since there would be the same immediate $50,000 limit on annual costs to the insurer;

• An immediate relief to the impending “Medicare crisis”, as costs over $50,000 in any 12-month period for this more costly population would be covered by the catastrophic, huge risk pool policy;

• An immediate decrease in most automobile insurance costs since the maximum outlay for any individual injured in an accident would be $50,000;

• An immediate decrease in medical bankruptcies.

Such a policy would take a period of time, no more than a year, to be adequately funded. The federal government would have to guarantee the policies for this time period.

After that, the policies would more than pay for themselves, giving the private health insurance companies that offer the product a modest profit. Monies above and beyond this modest profit would be invested in conservative private vehicles that would, in a brief period of time, create a large amount of capital.

In turn, a proportion of this money would be used to bring the monthly cost of the catastrophic product down. The remainder would remain invested in conservative vehicles to provide a private, well-capitalized “safety net” in the event of either an economic downturn or a change in population demographics.

I fully understand that this plan does not solve all problems. However, it does mitigate the risks to both insurance companies and the taxpayer, while “saving” Medicare, making other necessary reforms more feasible, and blunting the political arguments against the costs of universal coverage.

Gerald S. Mayer


Hey lefties: Stop with the dissent hypocrisy

For eight years, leftists repeatedly bleated that “dissent is patriotic.”

Now that our leftist empty suit of a president is in control of the executive branch, though, all of a sudden the political left eagerly seeks to ridicule, silence and crush dissent.

Mark Kalinowski

New York, N.Y.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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