In spite of facts like Tenet Healthcare rising 9.5%, making it the biggest riser among the S&P 500, or headlines like US Stocks halt global drop, the analysts and TV-approved fund managers continue to pretend that the weekend vote to give entrepreneurs and small businesses a break has nothing to do with our economic future.
While I still believe our health care payment system and its built-in incentives cost us roughly twice as much as they should, this legislation does put individuals and small businesses into a much larger actuarial pool. That will keep those health insurance customers from being screwed by premiums two and three times as high as paid for the very same people when they are part of large corporate groups.
That’s huge. It will finally free people at the peak of their professional lives to create new jobs, new companies, and even whole new industries.
Do you think Microsoft or Google could have happened if the founders were 40-somethings instead of 20-somethings? Not bloody likely. Family responsibility and the onset of normal aging pretty much guarantee that most middle-aged workers have to stay in their corporate squirrel cages, especially if they or their spouse or any of their children have one of those “expensive” conditions that insurance companies love to reject.
You can make your arguments about whether young people have a monopoly on creativity and business sense, but I know that when I see a doctor or lawyer or any other professional for the first time, I take some comfort when I see a little graying at the temples.
Is this the fix I would make? Of course not.
I think the new law should have included a rapid increase in the number of spaces available at medical and nursing schools, giving those students the option to work in public clinics or hospitals or hospices to pay off student loans over time.
Would those places offer the best care at all times? No. Would they offer basic preventative care, urgent walk-in care, and extended aged care at really low cost? Sure, if they had rules that said the only requirements for treatment were proof of citizenship, a small payment, and agreement to submit medical errors to binding arbitration panels.
A “safety net” like that would mean any legitimate citizen or legal visitor could get the help they need with no claim forms, ever, and that includes no forms filled out by the medical staff.
Private insurance and private care could go on as before or even better, as a premium available to those who paid for it, or those whose employer decided to pay.
That’s the kind of system that could cut our overall cost in half and give us the same or better health outcomes as a nation.
Just think how competitive we would be in the world market.
It seems that institutional investors have gotten the joke — that USA, Inc. may be starting to level the playing field with the rest of the world, and succeed in business far more than it would on the previous trajectory.
Don’t take my word for it. Just listen to the market.