Health Care Position and Recommendations
Health care is an important issue. Trying to improve our nation's health care by only revising the payment method (insurance program) ignores the many major places in our system where significant improvements can be made to reduce costs while improving care. Our proposal addresses most of the health care costs and suggests ways to reduce them. This proposal also restrains the role of government in a way consistent with our constitution.
Our fundamental approach is to work at the root causes of health care expense rather than at the tail (payment) end.
Doctors, Nurses, and Health Care Professionals: Increase the number of all medical professionals educated. Educate them to higher standards. Require regular testing by government regulated organizations. Knowledge is changing very quickly and in some professional areas more frequent education and testing will be required. Continuing medical education, training and certification should be partially government subsidized. Initial education of health care professionals should be heavily subsidized to increase the supply of highly qualified professionals. A process of pushing always for improvement must be established both in quality and in expense.
Hospitals and Treatment Facilities: Require regular testing by government regulated organizations. Hospitals should all be certified and rated. Ratings should be made very public so that patients and their families can choose the best care. We should establish a process to continuously improve hospital treatment and facilities and reduce expenses.
Malpractice Suits: Spread the liability for malpractice to include the licensing regulating organization and federal regulatory agency. Establish limits of liability for trained, certified, licensed professionals. Permit counter suits and develop methods to reduce frivolous claims such as that used in Minnesota where a doctor must approve a malpractice suit before it is filed.
Medical Equipment: Establish a federal subsidy program for diagnostic equipment like MRIs, X-ray equipment, operatory equipment to push the cost borne by a patient down. Do not so heavily subsidize equipment, that inappropriate purchases are made or equipment prices are driven up in a significant way.
Drugs: Allow approved drugs developed by American companies to obtain a large subsidy for costs incurred in research and development (after the fact). Require the producers to pass this benefit on to American consumers. Reduce the patent protection/exclusivity period in proportion to the subsidy.
Medical Education: Establish a nationwide network of research and teaching hospitals where students will both be educated and advanced medical research in all aspects of health care including both conventional and unconventional medicine will be undertaken. Much of this system already exists. Governments role is to push for higher standards, encourage new ideas, and oversee the certification of new practitioners, procedures and methods. A grant and award process should be established/expanded.
Medical/Health Insurance: A plan needs to be developed over a period of time to go to the reimbursement of expenses rather than the up-front payment of expenses for individual medical care. This will make for wiser decisions and lower costs.