I’ve been trying to keep up with the whole Healthcare Reform hubbub. I read articles, argue with my uncle, attended a rally. Tonight I read about half of Obama’s prepared speech as published in the NY Times (I’ll read the other half later, I promise). I’m feeling a little better about things, but one thing that initially had me cringing was the notion of inflicting fines on citizens who opt not to purchase health insurance of any kind. To paraphrase a commenter at the Houston Chronicle website, ‘isn’t it my business if I choose to pay out of pocket?’ I chewed this over, thinking about why this would be a fine-able offense. And so I’ve come up with a healthcare plan for the Elective Uninsured in lieu of automatic fines.
The Elective Uninsured would be defined as individuals who can afford to have insurance either through an employer or the insurance exchange proposed in the new plan, but elect not to purchase it. It would not include those whose income makes it prohibitive to purchase insurance.
First, the Elective Uninsured would be registered in a national database that would be accessible to all healthcare facilities in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands, US Marshall Islands, and any other islands with US in their names.
They would agree to pay any and all health services out of pocket. Emergency services would be required to be pre-paid in cash or by credit card. If the person arrives at an emergency facility unconscious, the facility is allowed to retrieve a credit card from their person or in the absence of a credit card, to access their banking information for pre-payment. The person will subsequently be billed for any emergency transportation which brought them to the facility.
Failure to pay for services or medications received will not be a legitimate reason for entering into bankruptcy protection. This would include default on credit cards where it can be shown the default was from medical services charged.
Minor children of parents who are Elective Uninsured will not be denied necessary treatment for lack of pre-payment. However, the parents will be billed for services and medications provided to their child. Failure to pay will result in garnishment of wages equally from both parents. If the parents are married to each other and divorce prior to the bill being paid in full, they will continue to pay the debt equally, and this will not be negotiable in divorce proceedings.
If you are an Elective Uninsured at the qualifying age of Medicaid, you will not be able to collect benefits.
Anyway, it’s just an idea.