As the courts decide the fate of Obamacare, the hard work of congress regarding a comprehensive healthcare policy must begin again. America cannot afford for Congress to wait when America’s health is at stake. And waiting also has the foreboding consequence of continuiing our downward economic spiral and loss of jobs.
As a result, Congress must first decide how much of our budget can support healthcare. No more than 10% of GDP is needed for government to support America’s economic growth. Today, we tax America 28% of GDP and borrow an additional 13% of GDP. The additional 31% goes to military, interest, and the redistribution of America’s wealth to improve the lives of Americans.
A consequence of spending more than 10% of GDP is that supplying today’s needs reduces the economic output and social spending of future generations. Our budget now demonstrates both the overwhelming desire of Americans to care for our own, and our inability to pay for our altruism. For every dollar our government spends, we borrow 40 cents from future Americans that will also want to meet the social needs of their citizens. Before we resolve healthcare, we must agree on a sustainable social care budget, the priority of our causes, and the amount available for healthcare. This amount combined with private contributions must meet our healthcare needs.
Then we must set about reducing costs to meet revenues. For instance, government has placed restrictions on revenue aggregation that are unnecessary burdens. Both political parties have advanced methods to reduce these costs. Compromise should float best ideas to the top.
Prevention must be on the legislative table. America’s habits promote peculiarly western major disease processes. Sugar, corn syrup, and processed fats industries promote an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, heart and vascular disease and strokes. Cigarettes help a quarter of our country to die extended, painful COPD deaths. Our dependence on pharmaceuticals precipitates growth of resistant bacteria.
Cultural decisions should not necessarily be a burden to all Americans and need prioritizing in the healthcare budget. Our disconnection with our elderly has escalated institutional costs. Our striving to extend lifespan has led us to spend a majority of healthcare costs on the last few years of life.
Competition must be allowed to drive costs down. Americans are rightly skeptical that capitalism will lead to corporate profits at the expense of our health. We have too many examples such as insurers culling unhealthy persons from the pool of insured, leaving the very people who need insurance without the ability to pay for their care. Much more competition balanced with thoughtful regulations is required. The alternative is a healthcare system marred by cost controls, leading to shortages of quality care.
American healthcare is dominated by a medical cartel that limits supply of doctors, limits procedures that can be performed by lesser educated personnel, and limits information needed for the average American to make good financial decisions regarding their health. To truly have competition, doctors must loosen their grip on access to medical schools, and permit more procedures to be performed by others. In the process, our medical professionals must be protected from our litigious society’s need to blame inaccurate medical science for the natural course of life.
Information must become transparent. We need knowledge of physicians’ capability to manage the health of their constituents just as we need knowledge of school teachers’ ability to teach. Our fractured healthcare industry also needs to aggregate information to increase up front spending that will decrease long term costs and to reward industry participants for achieving this outcome.
These problems are certainly looming but not insurmountable. However, both parties must subordinate the interrelated goals of their special interests to America’s goal of providing all Americans access to a healthy life, and must work together to put the best ideas of both sides of the aisle to work on behalf of all of us.