Op/Ed: Healthcare is this Year’s Political Football

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Healthcare is the political football of the midterm elections. But unlike the game of football, there are no rules. And the goal is to win – not for the benefit of the team (the voters) but to gain status and power.

Politicians are looking for a sound bite that catapults them into the spotlight. Spartacus was a dud. People like free stuff. Let’s try Medicare-for-All! Of course, the ads won’t mention that taxes will be doubled and private health insurance is essentially outlawed.

Currently, eight bills proposing variations of federally sponsored healthcare are on the horizon. If one bill fails, another one is in the queue. The government’s attempts to improve our “healthcare system” by top-down control of doctors and their patients have failed.


Op/Ed SCOTUS Hearings: Judge Kavanaugh’s Character Assassins Could Be Controlling Your Medical Care


For example, electronic medical records meant to streamline and make medicine more efficient have done the opposite: they are costly, non-interoperable and waste 50 percent of doctors’ time. Insurers exited the ACA marketplace – decreasing choice and competition. Lower insurance premiums were a pipe dream, while the profits of pharmaceutical companies and insurers soared. Many people were unable to afford insurance and certainly could not “keep [their] doctor” whom they liked.

Not only is it prohibitively expensive, but central control will bring use of more government guidelines, some of which have proven to not be in patients’ best interest. For example, in contrast to private medical organizations, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends biennial mammograms for those over 50 years. Yet the incidence rates for invasive breast cancer in women under age 50 has increased since the mid-1990s and breast cancer is more common in African-American women than white women in the under-45 age group.

Likely ignited by the limited choices on ACA exchanges, the personalized medical care movement was gaining steam. Accordingly, the Trump Administration made increasing healthcare freedom a key priority. A year ago, President Trump released an executive order “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition across the United States.”

First, the president expanded association health plans, increasing the options for small business and self-employed business owners. These plans allow certain businesses to join together across state lines to purchase health coverage. Next, to provide more options for individuals facing high premiums a new rule allows for the sale and renewal of short-term, limited-duration plans that cover longer periods than the previous maximum of less than three months.

Last week, a new rule to expand health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) was proposed. An HRA is a type of group health plan that allows employers (only) to fund medical care expenses for their employees on a pre-tax basis. Any unused portion of the HRA in one year may be carried forward to subsequent years. The rule would allow HRAs to be used to fund both premiums and out-of-pocket costs associated with individual health insurance coverage.

There is more to be done. We have to create a medical care world based on choice and competition and high quality at a reasonable cost. A world where bigger is not better and simplicity is a virtue: decreased reliance on third party payers, transparent affordable prices, and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) for all. HSAs could be funded directly by employers, or by tax credits, or allowing everyone to earn a certain amount of money free of income and payroll tax to go into a medical expense account.

The funds could be used to pay for anything reasonably related to healthcare as determined by the states, e.g., insurance premiums, deductibles, co-pays, direct patient care monthly fees, and health sharing ministries’ costs. The funds would be taxed if used for another purpose. Major medical (catastrophic) insurance policies would be available to all with state subsidies for those not working.


Op/Ed: A Health Savings Account Could Save Your Life


In this brave new world of providing broad access to excellent, but affordable medical care, the financially and physically vulnerable are not forgotten. There could be a tax credit for donations to charitable organizations that pay medical bills, modeled on tuition tax credits, up to a limit separate from the medical expense account. If Americans still want a third party to insure them for all health-related needs, they have the option to do so.

Don’t be fooled by sound bites: control is not compassionate. Turning over our lives to others places us at their mercy. The happiest people — even the disabled chronically ill — are those who have control — the feeling that life’s activities are “self-chosen.”

The government should set some basic rules, free from lobbying influence of industries that will benefit from government-run healthcare. And let patients and physicians take control of the ball and run with it. When the goal is giving patients the opportunity to choose their own path to great medical care — rather than a politician’s short-lived glory — freedom always wins.

 

Bio: Dr. Singleton is a board-certified anesthesiologist. She is President of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). She graduated from Stanford and earned her MD at UCSF Medical School.  Dr. Singleton completed 2 years of Surgery residency at UCSF, then her Anesthesia residency at Harvard’s Beth Israel Hospital. While still working in the operating room, she attended UC Berkeley Law School, focusing on constitutional law and administrative law.  She interned at the National Health Law Project and practiced insurance and health law. She teaches classes in the recognition of elder abuse and constitutional law for non-lawyers.

Haute Tease

  • A Bruxelles Ou Ça Pique Ou Ça Casse

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    La stratégie de vaccination de masse de l'Union européenne expose Bruxelles à des conséquences aussi glorieuses que catastrophiques. Dans un contexte d'excitation économique extrême et de fragilité, la Commission européenne sait que tout échec pourrait poser des questions sur la gouvernance commune.  

  • AVATAR Director James Cameron, Producer Jon Landau, Sigourney Weaver Partner with Amazon Watch

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    AVATAR Director James Cameron, Producer Jon Landau and actress Sigourney Weaver have teamed with Amazon Watch to assist the Brazilian based environmental watch dog agency in its fight to stop the construction on sixty dams that will divert the XINGU River.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump/Iran; California Wildfires; Austria/Somalia; Ophelia; AMPAS; Clinton

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    California Governor Jerry Brown, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris met with residents of hard hit Santa Rosa, California, where nearly two-thirds of this largest city in the famed Sonoma County  Wine Country, has been destroyed by raging wildfires.

     
  • Paul McCartney's Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts Plays Host to an Exciting Spring Line-Up

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The 2ube is a weekly live music show that takes place on Friday evenings in LIPA Cafe where some of the most exciting bands from Liverpool's diverse music scene have been appearing. Every few weeks these live shows are streamed to an online global audience - the next live stream happens on March 20th when you're invited to embed the YouTube feed on your website.  

     
  • Beltway Insider: Ebola; Race; Immigration; Russia/Ukraine; ISIS; Cuba; Malaysian Air Top 2014 News

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The fast moving, tumultuous, volatile and ever changing global dynamics create a combustible stream of shocking, brutal and graphic news. The difficulty was determining what constitutes the most challenging and how 2014 will be remembered.

     
  • Marguerite Review - An Enchanting Off Key Comedy

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Marguerite, from Cohen Media Group and Fidelite Films, brings to the screen Paris in the 1920’s, the combination of French aristocracy and bourgeoisie, the artist and the lover, desire for self-determination and the courage to live.

     
  • Calvary Review – A Lovely Captivating Mystery

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    "Calvary" from Fox Searchlight Pictures and Lipsync Productions, presents an intimate portrayal of an Irish priest faced with a personal impasse as a cast of conflicted, tortured and tormented souls pass through his remote parish confessional.

     
  • UPDATE: Death Toll in Smoky Mountains Wildfire Rises to 11; Scores Missing; Gatlinburg Nearly Burned to the Ground

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Great Smoky Mountains is living up to its name as clouds of devastating smoke have hung over the resort town of Gatlinburg, adjacent to the mountain range, which has burned nearly to the ground in a freak wildfire that left eleven dead and scores missing.

     
  • Emotional Anorexia: Why Others Think you are Difficult

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Relationships are not simple. In fact, the closer your association with someone, the more complicated the relationship. In any relationship, one person's needs and expectations intersect with the other person's needs and expectations.

     
  • American Deterrence Restored: Israel Praises the Baghdadi Killing

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Israel, who has long used the strategy of targeted killings to keep the enemy on the run, is praising President Trump for his "bold, decisive action of targeting and killing of Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi," said Israeli Mayor David Rubin.

     
  • Celebrity Interviews: The Cast of The Last Word Talk on The Movie, Ageism, Music, and The Future

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Bleecker Street Media recently released The Last Word, a timeless story of finding the missing pieces that, through discordant beginnings, are fine tuned into melodies, that somehow finding the right blends, the harmonies, that becomes treasured memories. 

     
  • Cannes Film Festival to Pay Tribute to Robert De Niro with a Hands of Stone Special Screening

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Hands of Stone, from The Weinstein Company, presents Robert De Niro in a role that already has insiders buzzing about the possibility of a golden season for one of the most revered and legendary actors in film history.  

  • United Airline Thugs Drag Doctor from Flight (Video)

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A doctor urgently needed at his hospital was pulled from a United Flight in Chicago, grabbed, and picked up from his window seat by security, and dragged through the aisle, pulled by his arms, sustaining cuts and bruises in the removal.

     
  • Collection Automne / Hiver Ziad Nakad de la Fashion Week de Paris - Ultra-Féminin, Romantique, Elégant

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Le designer international Ziad Nakad a fait ses débuts avec sa collection de couture Automne / Hiver 2019-2020 lors de la Fashion Week parisienne en dévoilant une collection époustouflante inspirée d'une mosaïque ancienne qui réunissait des motifs, des formes, qui créaient des images étincelantes à chaque défilé.  

  • Florence Foster Jenkins Review – A Howling Good Time

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Florence Foster Jenkins, from Paramount Pictures, Qwerty films, Pathe Pictures and BBC Films presents the true story of a passionate, dedicated, and artistic patron whose deep love for fine arts drives her to pursue her dream of singing at Carnegie Hall.