Lottery Post Journal

What a Republican Health-Care Reform Bill Would Look Like

by Robert M. Levy
Sunday, January 31, 2010

My college sociology professor always gave his classes term papers that we knew would take half a semester of solitary confinement in the graduate library.

But, like most workers, the professor was not fond of uncompensated overtime just to grade the ridiculous ramblings of a sophomore suffering from a weekend hangover. So he limited the length of our papers and reminded us to get to work promptly.

"If I have more time, I can write a shorter paper," he reminded us.

It was the only good advice I ever heard from a socialist. And, I hope that the Congress will take that advice, too.

With the election of Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate, health-care reform has stalled. It was 2,000 pages of leftist legal regurgitation from 60 years of dreams originated by politicians who advocated the policies of Lenin and Trotsky as the solution for the problems of the Great Depression.

So it is now my dream that the current socialists who still maintain a commanding legislative majority will take the advice of their "fellow traveler" from Carolina and take more time. Write a shorter law.

It can be done. I spent 30 years practicing law in California, where Governor Pat Brown Jr. told us that "less is more." I have a few minutes, so I can give them a little less. I can write SB 2010 as follows:

  • Interstate Sale of Insurance: In order to aid in the expansion of interstate commerce in intangible goods, it shall be permissible for persons licensed to sell health insurance in any state to sell health insurance through a licensed insurance broker in the state in which the policy is purchased. The state from which the product originates must allow the policy to be sold to its citizens and must guarantee the solvency of the issuing company through an insurance guarantee fund utilized by all that state's admitted carriers.
  • Tort Reform: In order for any state to receive existing funding for schools of medicine, it must limit the liability of health-care providers to no more than $250,000 for noneconomic damages such as "pain and suffering." This amount shall be adjusted upward or downward each Jan. 2 based upon the rise or fall of the Consumer Price Index.
  • More Tort Reform: In order for states to receive existing federal funding for schools of medicine: (1) No attorney in the state may collect as his fee more than 25 percent of a medical malpractice settlement award; (2) No amount of damages may be collected from any negligent health-care provider except in the proportion to the actor's percentage of negligence; and (3) If a plaintiff commences an action for medical malpractice, the parties that prevail shall be entitled to their reasonable attorney fees from the non-prevailing party.
  • Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions/No Cancellation: Any medical insurance policy written by a company involved in commerce shall not exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions as long as the insured has been continually insured for the previous year. If not insured for the previous year, the insured shall have coverage for pre-existing illnesses not more than one year after insurance commences. And no insurance policy in force for one year or more may be canceled or contested for any reason except nonpayment of premium.

Now, I do not believe that Harry Reid will be receptive to this bill, chiefly because it will not cost the government any money. Put another way, there is no tax money in the bill to pay off the unions in his Nevada casinos.

Yet, I believe that if the public wants health reform at all, given the time we now have to exhale the smog-filled air of Pelosi's San Francisco, we can write a much shorter bill that breaks a new ground of fairness for patients whose appendix need an extraction as opposed to the cash in their wallets.

Both Congress and the president were reprimanded by the voters of Massachusetts. I hope they now know that part of the art of politics is the same as the art of a KISS: "Keep It -Simple, Stupid!"

Robert M. Levy is chairman of the Moore County Republican Party. Contact him at [email protected].


  • Brilliant framework I hope becomes adopted.

    By konane, at 12:35 PM

  • Brilliant indeed...!
       I copied this and sent it to my Congressman. Love the art of KISS.!

    By MADDOG10, at 3:17 PM

  • Wowser! Good plan! No lawyer speak.

    By jarasan, at 7:26 PM

  • It's great but doesn't cover the MAJOR/MAIN issue of having some kind of insurance that is affordable. We need to have something available along the line of medicare for everyone that wants it. Fine with me if private insurance companies provide such a plan.   Medical costs are way out of line and need to be brought down either voluntarily or by force.

    By truecritic, at 7:42 PM

  • @Truecritic: With all respect, I believe you are mistating the problem, in the same way the progressives have done it in order to have government take over health care.

    The problem with health care is cost, plain and simple. All other problems, including the one you mentioned, are attributable to the overwhelming cost of health care, not the other way around.

    Simply attacking the problem by increasing government control and responsibility only makes the cost model even more lopsided, and will never solve the problem. It will only result in health care rationing, not maintaining quality care, and not giving it to everyone.

    The American people by and large are satisfied with American health care. The latest surveys show that greater than 80% of the population is satusfied with their health care. You don't go fixing a 20% problem by destroying what 80% like.

    The solution in this blog post will work so well because it does not try to solve everything at once. Like fighting a fire, you deal with the source of the flames, you don't spread the water everywhere. When you solve the cost issues -- or at least start to deal with the worst ones -- you make the whole system better and more affordable for everyone. Then most of the people who are unable to get health care today can get it, both from an affordability perspective, as well as dealing with the pre-existing conditions issue (one of the biggest reasons for people getting the boot from insurance).

    This is the same type of logic that progressives hate about cutting taxes. Because it solves the underlying problem without growing the government, they don't want it. They only want policies that grow government, because that is the source of their power. That, incidentally, is one of the primary reasons progressives are so scared about Sarah Palin -- they know from her history that she will slash the size of government and return power to the people.

    By Todd, at 8:40 PM

  • Todd,

    I agree with you. Health care cost is overwhelming. The healthcare industry by and large is labor. Unless something is done to reduce the cost of labor, no plan will succeed. Private insurance could refuse to pay the exorbitant cost of various items. One quick example. How much do you think blood tests should cost? I had 5 specific tests (besides other more normal blood tests). The 5 specific ones cost $1773.00. I don't care if they put gold into my blood samples, that is just too darn high. Who could afford to pay for those without insurance?

    20% of 300,000,000 is a lot of people that could not afford those blood tests. Everyone should be able to have health care. What are you going to do with those people? As it is right now, people are either dying or suffering because they can't pay for tests like my example. There is no healthcare for them.

    I did not say the government had to be the one to do it. Let private insurers come up with something like medicare. Let them tell the bandits they won't pay those kind of prices. Force the industry to come back down to earth with their pricing. But you still have to have some kind of health insurance available for everyone. Again, private insurance is OK, as long as it is affordable.

    I think Republicans can win the next election but I don't think it will be Sarah Palin. Not sure how she relates to this particular discussion but that is my prediction for the next election. You heard it here first (February 1, 2010).

    By truecritic, at 9:59 PM

  • Doctor's costs have been driven through the roof plus some really good doctors have stopped practicing due to malpractice insurance costs which have been driven through the stratosphere by ambulance chasing attorneys. Half the commercials on local tv are by injury attorneys. If they weren't making big money they couldn't pay for so much tv time.

    Tort reform will bring costs back down and it's going to have to be an issue demanded of congress to get meaningful legislation passed due to most of them being attorneys and protecting their own.

    By konane, at 11:33 PM

  • The simple truth about a plan like this, if implemented, market forces would kick in and lower costs, improve care, bring in and keep more doctors and prove once again capitalism is king.

    By jarasan, at 7:46 AM

  • @truecritic: To answer your question, blood tests should costs whatever the market will bear. That is the nature of our free market system, and it works great. The *problems* associated with high costs are always tied to increased *government controls*. The more artificial controls that are placed on things, the higher the costs.

    That's why airfares dropped precipitously when government price controls were removed. That's why healthcare will skyrocket if government controls it. That's why cutting taxes for everyone is more prosperous for the whole country than increasing taxes, even if "just for the rich".

    This is why it's so important to always think in free market terms. Because when you start thinking for one second that government is the solution to a problem, that's when you head down the wrong logic path. You just go deeper and deeper into the need for government to control our lives, which puts you on a continuously worse path.

    If there is a problem with blood test costs, examine what government interventions are creating the problem, don't add more government control. That is only salt in the wounds.

    Unfortunately there are so many people who literally think government is the solution to whatever problems they face. When in fact it is the government that creates the problems in the first place with its constant tinkering and creeping takeover.

    By Todd, at 9:14 AM

  • @truecritic: I forgot to mention, I think Sarah Palin will be the *reason* they win. Your last sentence sounds just like what people said about Reagan before he was elected. "He can't win" ... "He'll be the downfall of the party" ... "He's just an actor". Turned out to be one of the best and most popular presidents in history.

    By Todd, at 9:18 AM

  • @ Todd comment #10

    Wow. You must've heard completely different news than I did. I thought the world was optimistic about Ronald Reagan winning. I wasn't really hearing anything about "He can't win." Nonetheless, Sarah isn't even close to being Ronald Reagan!

    By truecritic, at 12:59 PM

  • @truecritic: No, I guess you weren't paying attention to politics back then. Much of the world treated Reagan like an enemy, as did the whole of the press. He was never treated with "optimism", either here or abroad.

    Reagan became very popular in the US only *after* it was apparent that his policies were going to rescue the country from collapse. (A collapse that was far worse than the recession we experienced during the past year.) His approval ratings in his first two years as president were poor. They were not helped by the press, which made a point to try and embarass and belittle him at every turn. (Unlike how they try and prop up Obama and cover up embarassing stories about him.)

    So my guess is that you were either too young at the time to understand what was happening, or else you did not pay any attention to politics. Probably too young is my guess.

    BTW, I did not compare Sarah Palin to Reagan. That would be foolish, as she is still comparitively young and has many years upon which to build her accomplishments. She became a governor years earlier than Reagan did, so there is potential for great things, if she holds true to her convictions as Reagan did.

    By Todd, at 2:16 PM

  • Todd,
    "So my guess is that you were either too young at the time to understand what was happening, or else you did not pay any attention to politics. Probably too young is my guess."

    Sorry, Todd...there is no easy way to tell you...wrong on both counts.

    I liked Reagan and paid attention to politics but maybe I didn't pay attention to news media.

    By truecritic, at 7:25 PM

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