Going to the Doctor sucks. Paying so much for it, sucks even more!
I've been working on a plan to fix it. It is not easy. But true to my art, we will need to blow some things up and be a bit creative in hopes of making a fantastic finished product.
Who came up with the name for The Affordable Care Act? Perhaps the worst branding ever. "Affordable" sounds cheap. Or that is all we could pay for... "Care" is just a tired word. And "Act" sounds like it is not permanent, or worse that we are "acting".
But trust me, we are not acting.
It also does not sound so great when you say it, "AAAACCCCCCCAAAAAHHHHHH". No wonder it was branded ObamaCare.
So first of all we need a cool name. Health is defined as the general condition of body and mind as it relates to soundness and vigor. Well cool! Vigor has my name in it.... so perfect!
Here are my ten concepts on VIGOR:
1. It is tough to get my hands on current numbers. But after looking at all I could, the VIGOR plan really boils down to profits vs people. In my way of thinking profits don't matter much if a person is dead. So let's focus on people as the first priority.
2. I reviewed the profits of some of the top national insurers. Profits and CEO pay is at an all time high. Billions and billions of dollars. So ask yourself a question, would you rather the CEO of an insurance company make millions each year, or some of that go to reducing your premiums and improving your care. Another question, should we pay shareholders or patients? You decide. Here is an article on CEO pay.
Insurance companies do not want to insure the unhealthy. They lose money on those transactions. I used to manage a large product company. We dumped lousy products. In this case you are the product. Insurance company profits averaged 14%. An average retail company does 5%.
Hold your breath and think about that.
A regional small health care system in LaCrosse WI, Gunderson Health (My Dad used to work there as a Doctor) made over $300 million in profits last year. Yikes. I would not say that is people over profits.
And SSM Health Care just bought Dean and St. Mary's in Madison. I think the SSM stands for "Super Stupendous Money".
The reason for the consolidation in the industry to to create mini monopolies to extract more money from people.
The doctors don't like it. The nurses don't like. They are expected to see more people. Work faster. Be more corporate. (A nurse just told me that yesterday). All in the name of "SSM".
3. Health care should be a right for all people. Everyone gets to have Vigor.
4. Wisconsin has some of the highest per capita health care cost in the country. We factored that into the plan. But we need to fix it.
5. So Here is how we pay for it. 5% of all of your income (It's less than Social Security) above $20,000. For nearly everyone it will be less than you are paying now. It will have a cap at income level of $500,000.
Business will pay 3% of the income of each and every employee regardless of income with a cap at $500,000. Businesses pay about that now, some will complain, but too bad... you want healthy employees and customers to grow your business.
The wealthy and high earners will complain also, but the wealthy through their efforts have been fortunate enough to have more than most. Hence as good people, the wealthy need to help others. The whole State rises, if they are smart are driven, they can make even more...
So if I am paid $100,000 selling art this year. I will pay $4,000 in premiums. My LLC will pay another $3,000. So $7,000 total. And we will do it all through payroll deduction. That way I do not have to feel bad each time I write a check.
That said if I have a million in income I will pay $24,000. And my employer will kick in $15,000. I will sleep happy knowing how many I have helped.
People and families earning under $20,00 are covered.
Everyone is covered.
6. Health insurance, hospital, clinic and all health care companies will contribute 10 of their gross sales to the plan. If they don't want to do this, the option is we always do to single payer government run plan or perhaps take away their license to operate. I ran a large company. If my top line was hurt by 10%. We would get more efficient. We might reduce excessive executive pay and eliminate bonuses. I know it is hard work. And it sucks. Sorry, but we have to choose people over profits.
And since health care is like a utility with a service that is needed and a monopoly over that service we will have a citizen board that sets the procedure rates. And that way, providers cannot jack up rates to cover their 10% contribution to VIGOR and charge people more. We will set an initial standard of being between 45 and 55% percentile for all charges nationwide. We will consider international rates too, as part of our diligence. We will cap annual increases at the change in the consumer price index.
Health insurance companies will still make money! Their CEO's are paid a lot. They are smart. They will figure it out.
7. The plan will be comprehensive. The plan will cover drugs. (I'll put together a detailed post on the plan and drug cost.)
8. Relative to our cost of living we want to set standards to have the highest paid Doctors and nurses in the United States. We want the best to practice here and we want a lot of them. We are also going to have the best education and best environmental place to live in the United States thereby making Wisconsin the top destination in the world to live, have a family, work and create a business.
9. We will set up a plan to pay for free medical school and nursing school. The contract will have the recipient stay, live, and work in Wisconsin - for 20 years. So we will increase our supply of health care providers in Wisconsin.
Using points 8 and 9, we will not have shortages.
10. And, we need positive incentives. If a individual gets an annual physical does not smoke and can pass the US physical fitness challenge 2X a year we will rebate a maximum $2000 dollars. We will scale this benefit. Here is the test. Fitness Challenge.
So if you stay active, don't smoke, and only drink Wisconsin beer in moderation you will be less of an insurance risk. And hence you make money. Not the insurance company. A few pull ups for some cash? How cool it that.
Make people profitable! For themselves.
Hey, contribute ideas to the plan. Finding the numbers was tough so I will make adjustments as I Iearn more. I will do a specific post on the numbers I used to figure this out.
Please know that we are open source, totally transparent and will take any and all ideas.
Think about it. No deductible. No co-pay. No co-insurance (which is hard to understand). No provider adjustments. A flat rate. Everyone insured. And the higher earners and the health care industry chip in a bit more. And bonus if you stay in shape you get some healthy cash and you live in the greatest place on earth.
Rally. People over profits.
VIGOR for EVERYONE
E I E I E I O
Stick Vega is the American Gunpowder Artist, former CEO, and author of LESS KILLING. Stick currently lives and creates explosive pop art at The Blast Factory in Madison, Wisconsin. Not limited to one medium, he works in gunpowder drawings and paintings, photography, digital art and writing. Please follow Stick on Facebook and/or Twitter.