- - Sunday, April 9, 2017

If you decided your car is inadequate, you would not sell it before buying a replacement. Let’s take same approach with health care.

We should listen to Newt Gingrich when he advises taking the health care discussion to the American people.

For example, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie sold pension reform at 80 town halls. We as Americans want to participate in the process and not submit to top-down edicts from Washington.

Let’s ask President Trump to champion our cause. As patients, we do not have a seat at the table with the insurance, hospital and drug companies.

Those of us who have good jobs and salaries want first and foremost to make sure the sick and poor are cared for. Making health care and premiums affordable for all must follow almost simultaneously.

Lower income fellow citizens would benefit if Mr. Trump wrote a check from the federal Treasury to each of the 50 governors. Kentucky’s Gov. Matt Bevin said he if had control he could provide much better care to Medicaid patients in his state with the $7,000 per recipient currently being spent. The folks in Washington dub this “block granting Medicaid to the states.”

Thousands of delivery points for federally qualified health care centers already exist. Simply expand the rule under which emergency rooms operate . no one gets turned away. Continue the policy that each visitor pays according to his ability. Secondly give emergency rooms the option of referring a kid with a sore throat to these clinics.

Really sick and injured people — suffering from cancer, dependent on dialysis, banged up in motorcycle accidents — pay a premium according to their financial ability. There is no reason for average earners to subsidize millionaires. These high-cost patients can and should be allowed to be insured through an association of their choice where costs can be spread — organizations such as the National Rifle Association, the Farm Bureau, college alumni groups. The “high risk pools” that exist in most states should be financially shored up and renamed “safety nets” so all of us understand their purpose. No American should ever be driven to bankruptcy due to medical bills.

We, as constituents, have a responsibility to alert our congressmen and senators by sending them articles such as this one so they know the health care policies we want. Objectives include:

• We want the right to contract with insurance companies, perhaps through our chosen association, for coverage we want and not what federal or state governments tell us we must purchase. Maybe you don’t need maternity benefits, fertility treatments, hair transplants or sex changes?

• We should not be forced to pay for coverages for which other people can contract on their own, nor pay for other people’s free stuff.

• State insurance commissioners should be responsible for financial viability and enforcement of contracts and not dictate our coverage.

Help all your friends who cherish private markets and patient driven healthcare to articulate this point as “giving” Americans choice rather than “repealing” Obamacare’s “guaranteed essential health benefits.” It will have the same impact, but conveys intent with a more positive approach.

• We want equal tax deductibility regardless if we buy insurance as a member of an association or receive from our boss.

• We want the option to own our own policy so it travels with us from job to job like our auto and homeowners insurance. Our D.C. friends call it “portability.”

Current Obamacare rules prohibit high deductible policies if we are over 30 years old. Why? If we are allowed to pay for the small stuff and choose at what level insurance kicks in, premiums would plummet as underlying health care costs are pressured down. Imagine what our car insurance premiums would be if we were reimbursed for tire replacement, tune-ups and gas refills.

That’s what we have done to “health insurance” which is really “prepaid health care” Now, when our doctor suggests a MRI, we ask where do we go and when? Rarely do we ask how much it costs. Price transparency would occur as we ask. Our system now is almost like giving the grocery store owner a check at the beginning of the month then shopping for free.

If we handle the poor and sick as above we increase civility in our culture. The need for “refundable tax credits” goes away so the Freedom Caucus members can kiss and make up with their detractors.

“Advanceable and refundable tax credits” are benefits one gets from the government in order to obtain health insurance. It’s another name for the subsidies that exist under Obamacare and why the Freedom Caucus balked.

Democrats and Republicans come together who share appreciation for the values on which our nation was based, articulated so well by Jesus. “We are our brother’s keeper” ” When we carry one another’s burden, we fulfill the law of Christ.”

Again, it is essential to make all the legislators you know aware of these fundamental concerns. So doing will drive us toward a solution and toward increased civility.

• Foster Friess founded the money management firm Friess Associates, which grew to $15 billion in assets under management. He now promotes “return to civility” efforts.

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