I had an idea earlier today. I think it is so crazy that is just might work. I think many people, regardless of political affiliation could get behind it. I want to believe that people are innately compassionate to their fellow man. So, bear with me and let’s see how crazy this idea really is….
I have health insurance. I’ve had my own plan since I graduated from college, an individual Blue Cross of TN plan. I think I pay something like $120 bucks a month or something ridiculously low. My company offers to pay for my insurance, but I prefer the portability of my own private plan on the off-chance that I decide to do something stupid like quit my job. I also don’t like the notion of “Cobra” insurance as a go-between for my own health insurance.
So, how crazy would it be if everyone like me was given an option by their health insurance provider to opt into a program for uninsured Americans.
Say Blue Cross called me and said the following: “Wes, we have an idea that we think would eliminate the need for a government public option. Would you be willing to add on an additional $10 per month to your insurance if it went to help offset the high insurance costs for someone who was previously ‘uninsurable’?”
I know I would say yes.
I researched it earlier tonight. It is estimated that Blue Cross covers 1/3 of ALL Americans with health insurance. That’s over 100 million people. That’s a lot of people in my mind. Then assume that half of the people would be willing to pay an additional $10 a month per covered person on their respective plan. For a family of 5 people, they could choose to have an additional $50 per month tacked onto their plan to help offset the high cost of premiums for uninsured Americans. That would be $500,000,000 a month to help cover those costs, or around $6,000,000,000 per year. 6 BILLION dollars. Only with Blue Cross. All of a sudden, just maybe, those uninsurable people would have far more affordable insurance, and we wouldn’t need a “Public Option.” They would pay a premium just like I do (probably still higher for whatever reason they have been deemed too high a risk), but it wouldn’t be as astronomical as their premiums are without being subsidized by the group as a whole.
Many people have insurance through their work. This is where the plan starts to get fuzzy. Would companies offer this as well? I would hope they would. The effect would likely be immaterial for them in the long run (that’s a huge assumption, I know). I think they would be more than willing to do so if it was a taxable deduction for those companies. It wouldn’t reduce their revenues by all that much, but it would be providing a piece of the inevitably large pie to help cover other uninsured Americans.
What makes me believe it would work is this: our government has proven beyond a doubt that they have no idea how to manage any healthcare initiative. Medicare and Medicaid are awfully run programs, and they consistently perform over-budget with little repercussion. Imagine if Blue Cross, Aetna, United Healthcare, Cigna and all the others got together and said, “We can do this without the government getting involved.”
I think it could work. It’s a very low-level analysis. I would like to believe that the typical American would rather give their money to a privately held company that specializes in providing healthcare as opposed to being taxed by the federal government and watching them waste the money through bureaucracy and mismanagement.
It’s so crazy it just might work.