(’76 Contributor) It seems to me that in spite of the near-paralysis of government at all levels on meaningful reforms for health care, our runaway costs need someone’s attention. Fewer and fewer small businesses can now afford anything but an insurance package that has a huge deductible. So as a totally inexperienced drafter of such proposals, but with my share of business experience in the real world, I am so bold as to offer the following simple start:
1) Tort Reform (obviously a difficult area to get passed due to connection of Dems with Trial Lawyers)
a) Lost case the loser pays the opposition attorney’s fees
b) the settlement for “pain and suffering” be capped at $250,000 (I believe that is the present cap in Colorado)
c) maximum for plaintiff attorney to participate in award for “pain and suffering” make it 5%. (be willing to settle for 10%)
d) 3 successful suits where malpractice has been adjudicated makes the Doctor uninsurable from any state authorized insurance company.
e) More than 5 unsuccessful suits within one year (from initial filing) bars the lawyer personally from any participation in this type of litigation for 3 years anywhere USA (purpose is to put that lawyer permanently to pasture).
f) Excess reserves accumulated by a “malpractice” insurance company (est. 2X annual Claims) shall be rebated to Doctors as a refund.
g) Standardize accounting for insurance companies so Administrative costs can be tracked and limited to 30% (Make total revenues less 30% to equal the definition of reserves for claims. If the balance accumulates to 2 X annual payout rebate back to Doctor)
2) Unrestricted marketing across state boundaries.
3) Mandatory posting of prices by the doctors for ALL specific procedures – to enable consumer to shop prices and judge if premium is worth going to a “high” reputation Doctor. That does not imply that any price controls would be enacted.
4) One ought to be able to buy a “Cadillac Medical Insurance policy for an “appropriate” price without government penalty to cover the higher priced procedures. Let the market work it out.
5) Standardize “Basic” mandatory electronic medical records – Doctors and health institutions may maintain more detailed records, but those need to be electronic by 2012 and compatible so that if requested by a third party (proper permission) they can be delivered electronically without delay.
6) Medical savings accounts for all and ability to purchase health insurance with PRETAX dollars.
This is probably just a start, but keep the “bill” to less than 10 pages and if it requires more, prioritize the items and only pass some with the understanding that there will be another opportunity. Focus should be on cost reduction without destroying the healthcare system.