Healthcare Reform – A New Public Option?

(photo courtesy

(photo courtesy

By Guy Mastrion

Our governments failure to enact a public health plan is ripe with ramifications. Many of which have nothing to do with healthcare, but maybe its not too late to suggest another idea: a public health program based on a system of options.

Perhaps this could help put a manageable framework around a complex set of engagements. But, theoretically, it might function like this: Everyone enrolled in the public plan would be granted a prorated set of options based on age, gender, health history, family health history, and any other data available to forecast a demand.

For example, a 22-year-old male in good health might receive 4 options per year for situations like a visit to the doctor for a common cold, and a few more options for more serious conditions. If he doesnt need them, or chooses not to use them, he could receive a tax credit and the unused options would go back into the pool to be given away to those in need of more healthcare.

In this way, the public plan would give everyone access and the healthy community would supplement the less healthy. And in the process, the healthier would get a little something in return for allowing their options to be put to work for others — a tax break.

The options could be made available in a centralized data warehouse for all those enrolled in the public program, and each option could be made available via computer download to the treating physician based on a patient request from the plan.

In this way, patients could control their allotted options and physicians could choose to accept the option as payment, or not. Perhaps the government could mandate that each physician, and maybe even each insurance provider, give access to those on the plan by accepting a certain percentage of patients from the options system in proportion to their practice. This would effectively share the load, assuming the government is willing to pay a reasonable and customary fee based on a national norm, and healthcare professionals and managed care organizations are equally willing. In theory, the system could effectively drive down cost, improve care, and keep all parties engaged in creating a better set of outcomes.

Maybe this idea has already been dismissed, certainly more well-informed minds have wrestled with the complexities of this challenge, but in the end, they failed to get it done.

In the point, counterpoint world of politics, no idea goes unmolested.

So I offer up my idea for sacrifice.

First blood anyone?

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