Governor Mike Huckabee offers some ideas for reforming health care while avoiding the failure-waiting to happen plan that is being pushed through Congress by the Democratic leadership and the Obama administration.

The American people know that one of the most basic things we need to do as a nation is to teach preventative health care measures in schools and to parents and families. The key to improving health in America is to create an atmosphere of healthy behavior. Teaching young children how to take care of their bodies and teaching young parents and families the importance of healthy diet and exercise is a starting point. We need to get our kids out of the habits of eating unhealthy foods and sitting for hours in front of the television or computer. Changing the collective attitude of the American people is vital. We need to give people information that changes the way they think about an issue.

Your health is like a dashboard. If the only thing you ever look at is your speedometer, and you don’t bother to look at the oil gauge and the water gauge, you can get into serious trouble. You may think, “hey, I’m going the speed limit” but that’s not the point. That’s how fast your car is going, not how well it’s running. Health is the same way – you can’t just focus on weight – you need to look at your cholesterol levels, hemoglobin AIC, blood sugar and blood pressure as well.

No, preventative health care measures won’t reduce the cost of health care, at least for a generation, but it is a necessary step. We must also take steps to reduce the costs of employer provided health care. Our businesses can’t compete in a global market when they face demands from employees for more and more coverage without any regard for the costs. That is simply human nature – when a person isn’t paying for something, they want the very best they can get. I believe that we must transition from an employer based system to a consumer based system.

Right now, health care in America is reactive and is geared towards intervening in catastrophic situations. We should be focusing on preventing those situations from occurring. The whole system is upside down. It’s like our government is focused on putting Humpty Dumpty back together again instead of keeping him from falling off the wall. Our healthcare system is based on a broken egg concept.

Tax credits, reform of medical liability, adopting electronic record keeping, expanding health savings accounts, making health insurance tax deductible, and making health insurance more portable from one job to another, and from state to state all will help lower costs and make health insurance more affordable. We don’t need all the government controls that would inevitably come with universal health care. We do need more individual control of health care options.

These are good ideas and they take a swing at some of the reasons why our health care system is broken.  We do need more individual control and this would bring about significant reform, and reform is definitely needed.  I disagree with the mantra that has been floating around out there that “health care is a luxury, not a right.” 

Well, it isn’t a right per se, but I wouldn’t call it a luxury either.  It is a necessity.  Because you honestly wouldn’t call it a “luxury” if you had cancer, or rheumatoid arthritis for instance.  There are people who do need it, but can’t afford individual health insurance.  Those plans normally won’t cover pre-existing conditions (we’ll help cover your medical costs except the ones that you’ll actually have).

However, having an individual plan that you keep, that is tax deductable or you are given a tax credit for would help.  Even having an HSA to help cover costs of conditions not covered would help.

There are a number of things that the government and our society can do to address this this problem, but it is unlikely that we have the collective will do to so.

Change is needed, but not the kind of change that is being promoted at the moment.

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  1. I am okay with the whole preventative approach to health that Huck advocates.. of course he embraced it a bit late in his life.. he was huge a few years ago.. kind of like a guy who has smoked for years preaching to folks that have never smoked.

    That said I am with you on this Shane.. all people need heath care.. not a luxury.. a need. Just hope that we can eventually get to a place where insurance companies are not in charge and things like “pre-existing” conditions are identified for what they really are.. a way to put it to sick people who need “care” the most.. even if those insurance companies don’t care.
    .-= Kansas Bob´s last blog ..Why US Healthcare Will Stay Broken =-.

    1. Pre-existing condition riders do need to be addressed. We experienced this with my wife – first off the premiums were more than we can afford, and then they also include riders on her rheumatoid arthritis, which is why she really needs the insurance.

      And the preventative approach to health care won’t address that.

      Same with people who have cancer, etc. Not everything is from an unhealthy lifestyle.

      On the other hand I wonder what would happen to premiums if the feds came in with heavy regulation and said you couldn’t do pre-existing condition riders. That could end up backfiring. Whatever ends up happening it can’t be rushed through and they need to look at all options. Outside of the preventative health care focus I do like Huckabee’s suggestions.

  2. Please put the proposition to your senators and house members
    (if you believe strongly that exclusive government run healthcare
    is so good for our nation. Are you willing to discard your tax
    paid and private health insurance and join us in the plan you
    are designing for our nation?) It ought to be a law that whatever they design for us they should have to participate
    exclusively. If you can get this done they will solve any problems
    facing the rest of us. If not, don’t trust it to be the best or
    even acceptable.

    1. Very true James, just to make it clear I’m NOT in favor of exclusive government-run health care.

      I do think if they believe it is good for the rest of us then they should have the same plan.

  3. “The current system is set up to reward sickness.”

    Not entirely. My health plan includes serious incentives for screening of unhealthy conditions. They also follow up with personal advice and guidance if a plan member chooses (including subsidized Weight Watchers and smoking addiction programs). That’s part of cost containment.

    I agree that the system is set up to reward treatments because it’s largely “pay-per-treatment”.

    Note that Massachusetts’ state-sponsored health plan is attempting a switch to a pay-per-patient system as part of cost containment measures. That will help drive prevention efforts.

    Mind you, the longer we live, the more expensive treatment becomes.

Comments are closed.

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