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CommonCare: The Common Sense 100% Coverage National Health Care Plan

Dec 12, 2013
Peter Falkenberg Brown

With ObamaCare under intense scrutiny from members of both political parties, I believe it’s time to introduce “The Common Sense 100% Coverage National Health Care Plan”, also known as “CommonCare.”

Yes, those are my terms for a simple, workable, bipartisan plan that could go into effect with a minimum of fuss and bother. Democrats should like this plan because it provides a vital service to all citizens, both rich and poor. Republicans should like it too, because its central premise is that taxes should not go up. Instead, wasteful spending should be cut, and programs should be prioritized so that healthcare becomes as important as national defense.

Admittedly, this level of health care cannot be covered unless serious budget cutting in other areas is undertaken and accomplished. I've been a Republican for a long time, and I believe in low taxes and responsible spending. The CommonCare plan might seem "too Democrat" at first glance – but it doesn't have to be. asked Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md), “The administration published 10,535 pages of final Obamacare regulations into the Federal Register. Have you read all 10,535 pages of that?”

Sen. Cardin stated, “I don’t have any idea.”

The good news about my “CommonCare” plan is that it could probably be written into law in less than a page. Yep. One page. I’m not a lawyer, but here’s the gist of the plan.

We, the citizens of the United States, pay taxes to the Federal government so that the government can in turn deliver services to us that affect the common welfare of all citizens.

We pay for many “common need” services through taxes that are then delivered to us “for free.” Among them are services by the military, state and federal police, and the Departments of Transportation. We may even forget that we, as citizens who pay those taxes, are also owners of the services. We assume that the services will be there when we need them. We’ve gotten used to them. How would any of us feel if we called the police for help, and they asked for our insurance card first, and then sent us a bill?

“Well, ma’am, saving you from that mugging came to $1,493.28. Payment is due in thirty days.”

No, we get help from the police, and then go back home, happy that our tax dollars are at work.

Health care should be just as simple. Every citizen has a common need for medical and dental care at one time or another. Let’s put our tax dollars that we already pay to work for us in that arena as well.

We have a common need for a common sense method of paying for health care. Health insurance is falling short of fulfilling our common need. They may pay 50 to 80% of our medical bills, but then they leave us with 20% or more, including yearly deductibles, and the cost of the monthly premiums. People are getting buried by mounting medical costs even when they have insurance. It’s a numbers game that is stacked in favor of the insurance companies and their enormous profits.

We, the citizens, are the owners of our tax dollars. It’s our money. Let’s insist that the government spends our money the way we want. The funds in the US Federal Budget belong to all of us.

I suggest that we keep the free market environment of health care wide open, allowing us to choose our own doctors, our own treatment plans and our preferred medical options, including those in the alternative medicine categories.

We don’t need the government “owning the doctors” or policing which doctors we go to. That’s up to us. We don’t need a nanny-state forcing us to follow a stranger’s idea of good medical policies. That’s invasive to us, and damaging to the free market benefits of competition that will force doctors to become better and better over time.

As tax-paying citizens who are the true owners of our tax dollars, let us simply establish a Federal department that has only one function – to pay our medical bills in full.

Under this plan, we would go to any doctor we want, and the doctor would send the bill to the “CommonCare Health Plan Office”, at 123 Common Sense Avenue in Washington, DC. That department would pay the doctor, and everyone would be happy. No fuss, no muss.

How would we, i.e. “the nation”, manage this, financially? This is what our elected officials should be doing – managing our money better, so that everyone’s medical bills can be paid in full (with no deductibles or copays) from the existing national budget. They’ll have to cut expenses (aka waste), to cover the plan. But that’s good! Let them cut the waste and pay for all medical costs now.

Where does that leave insurance companies? They’ll complain; they’ll lose money, they’ll have to re-factor jobs into other types of insurance, but they’ll survive by changing, just like the buggy whip manufacturers survived by changing. Their unseemly profits will help them weather the change.

The CommonCare Health Plan legal mumbo-jumbo doesn’t have to cover ten thousand pages. It could be enacted with a simple mandate:

In 2014, Congress shall establish and maintain a national department that will be responsible for the timely payment in full of all medical and dental bills submitted by U.S. citizens.”

There – that wasn’t even a page. A new law in one sentence!

The rest of the CommonCare law or administrative details would include methods to accomplish the plan in reality.

The CommonCare Budget

Step one would be to ensure that the CommonCare budget is covered, by cutting government expenses appropriately. This idea is predicated on the view that a large portion of current government expenses are wasteful or are not critical for the health and welfare of the nation, and can thus be cut to accommodate the CommonCare Health Plan.

Of course, crunching the numbers to make this plan work will be a major task. Yet, if we assume that it can be done, creative minds will be stimulated to find realistic and clever ways to make it work. Even now, a large portion of the population gets most of their medical costs covered (which doesn’t mean that they’re not burdened by the balance). This is indeed a plan that will benefit from the spirit of, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Excessive Billing and Fraud

The plan would need adequate safeguards against excessive billing and fraud.

It Can Be Done

President Obama was correct about one thing: health care is important.

Thus, let us, as citizen owners, create “CommonCare: The Common Sense 100% Coverage National Health Care Plan.”

Future generations may look back and gasp at the reality that we didn’t always have the CommonCare Health Plan, and exclaim, “How medieval!”

Peter Falkenberg Brown is passionate about writing, publishing, public speaking and film. He hopes that someday he can live up to his favorite motto: “Expressing God’s kind and compassionate love in all directions, every second of every day, creates an infinitely expanding sphere of heart.”

~ Deus est auctor amoris et decoris. ~

Follow Peter on Twitter or Facebook:
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