- Nice hair
- Nice shoes
- Attractive figure
- Expensive wardrobe
- Room temperature IQ
- Fancy manicure featuring an accent nail on the fourth finger of each hand
Of course there are those who like and even claim to admire Sarah Palin. I'm sure almost all of them either want to sleep with her or are simply mesmerized by the train wreck that happens almost all the times she opens her mouth.
When you consider that Sarah Palin was the best the Republicans could come up with as a Vice Presidential nominee, it should come as no surprise that we can't seem to make any meaningful progress on healthcare reform.
If I were emperor of the universe and didn't have to worry about breaking a filibuster, this is what I'd do.
- Single payer system. Critics say it's socialized and that it would require higher taxes. My response to that: so what? Healthcare is already almost socialized because between medicare, medicaid, and government employees, the government is the defacto provider for so many. Why not finish the deal? The fear mongers who claim that we in the United States have the highest quality of care are full of it. And we pay twice as much for the average quality care we receive. Taxes would need to be raised, but between my contribution and my employer's, several times what I pay in Federal Taxes is going to health insurance premiums. I would gladly pay more in taxes if those premiums went away.
- Turn patients into consumers. Most of us have no idea how much treatment costs or why we're getting it. Physicians charge us for it, and we have no idea what it is or why it costs that much. We need to educate ourselves about treatment options and pursue those that are most cost-effective. To do this, we need to have some skin in the game. Which is why my single payer system would have a high deductible. Everyone would be required to have health savings accounts to cover up to that deductible amount. The HSA's would be just like what's available today--contributions accrue on a tax-deferred basis and can be withdrawn tax free when used for qualified expenses. If you're healthy and take care of yourself, that HSA money could be saved for retirement, education, or similar. If you're not healthy, you're going to have to pay more and those dollars won't accrue.
- Reduce the cost of care. First step for this is real incentives for healthy living. The high-deductible plan described above is a good first step. Along with that, a system of credits for people who make healthy lifestyle choices and/or penalties for those who don't. We as a country are eating ourselves to death. Obesity, tobacco use, and drug abuse increase the overall cost of care and should be born proportionally. Next step is tort reform. I recognize that if a doctor screws up, common sense dictates he or she should be accountable to make the person whole. But punitive damages do nothing but cost all of us more money as doctors are forced to pay more for malpractice insurance. Ain't no such thing as a free lunch, so let's stop giving one to the litigious. Finally, a single payer system where all providers are paid the same for a given procedure and the overhead associated with insurance companies is reduced, if run properly, will lower the overall cost of care.