The following concepts on health care delivery and financing are applicable to resolving the current unacceptable predicament:
- Attain maximum value in the purchase of health services through free market competition.
- Allow individuals to choose financing outside of pre-payment third party financing systems (especially the purchase of discretionary medical services).
- Foster the development of educational programs to aid individuals and employees in the prudent purchase of health services.
- Eliminate and replace current discriminatory federal and state tax policies with fair and equal taxation policies for the purchase of health services whether individually purchased or employer supplied.
- Revise ERISA statutes to allow all employers the opportunity of self funding health benefits packages.
- Allow the option to transfer employer ownership of health benefits packages to individual ownership and purchase.
- Foster the development of group purchasing organizations independent of employers to aid in the purchase of health benefit packages. The emphasis of purchase on cost effective true insurance products (e.g., coverage for unanticipated catastrophic events) and cost effective individual payment for maintenance and discretionary medical services.
Note: HMOs are the antithesis of free market competition. Free market competition cannot occur in the delivery of individual medical services unless the user of the service, the patient, is the determinant of the value of the service, and has the freedom to seek this value. Cost control, in turn, cannot effectively occur in free markets, unless the purchaser of services has meaningful obligation to finance these services.
Note: The most economical purchase of discretionary services is accomplished by direct purchase, thereby, eliminating third party administrative cost and profit. Health and medical services can be categorized into three basic components: the delivery of emotional and physical comfort, enhancement of defined quality of life, and the extension of life. The purchase of the first two categories is, in most instances, non-emergency and discretionary.
Note: Current tax policy allows virtually no deduction for the purchase of health benefits unless supplied by employers. This policy discourages the purchase of health benefits for millions of Americans.
Note: Individual ownership eliminates or reduces the problems of benefits portability, denial of coverage for pre-existent problems, as well as, employer administrative burdens. The implementation of this sensible concept is frustrated by the current tax policy.
Note: This approach encourages individual input into benefits selection, solves the portability issue, and achieves the economies of group purchase. Again, the current tax policy is a major obstruction to this approach.