So often I sit here criticizing local government for missing the obvious, which is exactly what is happening in Washington right now. The Democrats are pushing so hard for national healthcare that they have missed an obvious option that could potentially quell some of the furore.
Not-for-profit, isn't a sexy term in our society, but they get the job done. There are many school and social organizations that are run under this umbrella that are flourishing. I haven't seen a not-for-profit bankruptcy movement, have you? So, why can't our elected officials figure out how to set up a not-for-profit healthcare option. An option where premiums are determined by expenses and the government moves Medicaid and Medicare into the group. I know what your thinking, socialized medicine, but it's not.
By taking the profit margin out of healthcare, you are taking a lot of risk and expense out of the current system. Insurance companies want to make money, pure and simple, and there's nothing wrong with that. But, they also risk money to make more money. Premiums are invested in high risk/high yield opportunities. Experimental and expensive procedures are often denied in the name of turning a profit. By creating a not-for-profit option you take those factors out of the mix. Premium costs would be set every year based on the amount of money spent the year before. If it's a good year, premiums go down, if not, they go up.
Most of the objections to healthcare focus around government involvement, but the government doesn't have to run this option. An independent body, like the National Endowment for the Arts, could be established. The government would only have to pay in premium amounts for Medicaid and Medicare recipients and let the organization go. An independent body would take most of the politics and a lot of the red tape out of the system.
Now you may argue this is against capitalism, but is it? The no-profit option would force for-profit companies to clean up their acts and reduce costs. Companies would be working for the greater good of their subscribers by reducing costs and being competitive. Right now there is no incentive for health insurance companies to change the way they do business. A government run public option isn't a threat to them, it's just a larger Medicaid system. But, a not-for-profit, run right, would create a true challenge and alternative for the average middle class American.
Healthcare comes down to two simple points: care and affordability. If a person can get care when they need it, then it becomes a matter of how they pay the bills. A not-for-profit healthcare option will allow Americans to finally be able to afford the bill on healthcare.