Skip to main content

What We Need for Healthcare Reform

Healthcare reform is big news right now. Congress is hard at work trying to overhaul our healthcare system to make it less expensive and cover more people. These are admirable goals and they will be extremely hard to accomplish. The ideas that Congress has come up with seem to revolve around a government healthcare plan paid for by taxing the rich. I'm not confident that this will be a good thing in the long term. It simply creates another government plan that will probably underpay (I've heard that doctors are dropping out of Medicare because it doesn't pay enough to cover the costs of the service).

In my opinion, we need to focus on what makes other services better and cheaper and try to adapt those principles and models to healthcare. So, in my opinion, healthcare reform should include the following:
  • Encourage Competition: There should be no captive markets (how many insurance options does your employer give you?). Insurance carriers need to work to win over people not companies. With effective competition, the most efficient and effective plans will come out on top and those that can't adapt will wither away. This is how the market works best. Real competition will drive down prices and increase service levels.
  • Reduce Complexity: Have you even noticed how medical offices seem to have more staff to handle billing than actual doctors? All of those employees cost money. All of the insurance employees dealing with them cost money. All of that money comes from us. Shouldn't going to the doctor be like buying anything else? Just slide your card and you're done. No forms to fill out, no fighting with the doctor's office about what procedure was done and whether or not is was covered, none of the headaches of dealing with the insurance companies. It saves time, money, and stress.
  • Reform Liability and Malpractice Proceedings: How many people in this country look at injuries like the lottery? Sue the company, sue your doctor, sue your neighbor, etc. To me, this just isn't right. If a person gets hurt and it's the fault of a company (slipped in a grocery store or something), the company pays for the medical bills and court costs and that's it. If a doctor loses a malpractice suit, the payout is limited to medical bills, court costs, and lost wages. If punitive damages need to be assessed, they will follow these rules: 1) Punitive damages do NOT go to the victim. This is not a lottery. The victim is already being compensated. Hopefully this will reduce the number of lawsuits as there's no money in it for the victim. 2) Punitive damages are NOT paid by insurance. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the offender. If insurance pays for it, is the offender punished? 3) Malicious intent must be proven for punitive damages to be awarded. Doctors should not worry that they'll be sued for giving their best guess and/or their opinions. Sometimes talking to a doctor feels like talking to a lawyer. They will only say what can't be used against them in court. Doctors deserve the freedom to be doctors.
  • Eliminate Pricing Disparities: Have you ever noticed that what you're charged and what you pay are radically different? If seen lab tests that are billed at $150 but discounted to $7.50 because of insurance contracts. That's not right. Charge what you need to charge for the service. These pricing swings are confusing and punish those who don't have insurance.
Those are my ideas on healthcare reform. We have a good econimic model in this country but healthcare has been regulated to point that it's hugely inefficient to do anything and yet we wonder why it costs so much. As for government supplied insurance, if you're going to have it, make sure it pays at least the cost of the procedures it covers. If doctors start losing money on patients, they'll stop seeing them and we'll be right back where we were before.


oh I love to hear your comments jeff. all pretty good ideas too especially the just slide your card and its done. perhaps it would be a little more complicated than that but i like it as well as the price gouging the insurance companies or the people for that matter on proceedure costs that get priced way down. someone is getting charged too much. it really shgould be the same price for everyone. maybe the secretary could be like the person at mcdonalds just press a couple of buttons repeat your order and slide your card i like it.
I'm slow reading this entry, but the wisdom is as sound today as it was when this was posted. Jeff, is there any way you could just sort of hover above those mucking up the system until they pay attention? Mom

Popular posts from this blog

Insteon: Controller vs Responder

This entry is going to be more of a technical article.  If you're not planning on setting up scenes in an Insteon environment, this isn't for you.  If you are or like me, have been running into some confusion about what should be set up as a controller, what should be a responder, and what should be both.  Here's what I learned.

I've been using Insteon switches for a couple of years now and had set up a few scenes.  When adding a switch to a scene, you have the option of adding it as a controller, a responder, or both.  Not knowing the difference and wanting to cover my bases, I set all of my scenes to both.  Since my scenes were all timing type scenes (e.g. turn on night lights at sunset) it worked fine.  Then I added an 8 button keypad and started programming the buttons to control other lights.  The program for this, of course, is a scene.  Once again, I set every switch and button as both a controller and a responder.  Then I created a scene, specifically for my E…


I just finished reading The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone. It's a biographical novel of Michelangelo (you know, the famous sculptor/artist whose statue of David and the paintings in the Cistine Chapel are super famous) that gives a very interesting view of his life. It seems that while Michelangelo had a very productive life, it wasn't a very happy one.

One of the first things that I noticed about Stone's portrayel of Michelangelo is that he was obsessed with creating sculptures and a true perfectionist. For a large portion of his life (into his 60s it seems) his every action was calculated toward a goal of sculpting marble - either getting a commission or improving his talent (or both). Not only did he want to sculpt, he wanted his pieces to be as real as possible.

His obsession with carving perfect sculptures drove him to do endless studies of the human form. He even spent months sneaking into a morgue to dissect bodies so he could figure out how the body real…

Sonos Control with the Amazon Echo - How I did it

I've had my Amazon Echo for a year or so and one thing that I've wanted ever since I purchased it, is to be able to use voice commands to control my Sonos speakers.  I waited patiently (OK  not patiently) for Sonos skill to appear on the Echo but it still hasn't come.  I was encouraged when Sonos announced it was going to focus more on voice but still nothing.  Isn't there any way to control my Sonos with my Echo?

Yes - sort of.

WARNING: This post is not for the faint of heart because the solution is not trivial.

So, I found a project on github that uses another project on github combined with a custom skill on
the Echo via a web service hosted by AWS Lambda.  OK, that was the easy part.  I knew that going in.  That's why, initially, I waited.  There must be an elegant solution out there.  I searched and waited and searched again and waited again.  Finally I decided to give it a try.  If it worked it would be really cool.  If it didn't, well I'm no worse o…