I've had more than my share of emails wondering why I haven't posted with opinions on what's going on in healthcare.
How about because the topic is as thick as an Encyclopedia Britannica to fully understand (look it up kids - big book chock full-o information before the web), and a powder-keg of emotions to boot! Is that a good excuse? Because it's the truth.
So, here's my stance, simplified beyond belief. I like the big provisions of the bill that are good for all. Coverage for all. No pre-existing conditions that insurers can turn you away due to. Good stuff for everyone, and a noble goal that our society should strive to attain.
Now, here are the two things I don't like - simplified beyond belief:
1. Government running the show. Check out the DMV for more details of why this is a bad idea.
2. No personal accountability, either through the bill and also through prior legislation. We're on a clear track with some Genetic Discrimination laws that you can't be penalized for what's in your DNA. I agree with that stance, but it's the slippery slope of making everything a genetic condition that bothers me.
You want healthcare, but let's say your blood pressure is an outlier that makes you a candidate to blow up next week. You refuse to deal with the situation through medication, diet and exercise, and get offended when someone mentions you could do more. I'm no expert, but blood pressure runs in families, which means it would be protected under genetic discrimination laws. You refuse to do anything, and 11 months later you blow up with a major stroke, which costs your company/government 100K. You get the treatment, but again refuse to help yourself and your family by changing your habits to prevent another stroke.
And of course, if you refuse to help yourself, you're also refusing to help impact the risk/cost curve you present to your company/government.
Personal accountability. The time-bombs don't want it, won't accept it, and in the current/future legislative climate, you really can't do much about it. Which means you, the rule follower, pay more. Either at your company now or in the future via a higher tax load.
That's why I think mavericks like John Mackey of Whole Foods are interesting. Mackey launched a Team Member Healthy Discount program at Whole Foods designed to reward team members who don't smoke, keep their cholesterol and blood pressure in check and have BMIs in the non-outlier range. Check out the program below but be warned. Mackey is taking a lot of heat for including BMI in this program, because that goes directly to the topic of someone being overweight, which is the ultimate powder-keg. I think if I was on his staff I would have encouraged him to drop that one, because it's an argument you can't win.
But carrots and sticks to encourage people with issues with smoking, cholesterol and/or blood pressure to improve? I think that's the type of accountability that makes sense if taxpayers are going to pay the bills. Check out the program below and remember - Mackey's not asking people to strive toward an unattainable goal - the program is tiered so people with a problem in any area can see progress and lower costs as they go along.
What would happen if future taxes to support the healthcare bill were approached in a similar way? I don't like government being in my business in this way any more than you do, but you get to pick two of the following three items when it comes to healthcare if the government's going to be involved:
1. Control Costs
2. Coverage for All
3. Limit intrusions on your government having access to your data and asking you to improve.
That's the simple equation you have to figure out to know where you stand. Read the Whole Foods thing below, dream the dream, then pick the two things that are most important to you out of that list of three items.