Posted by Ellen Krafve - email
Released by Laura Mszar with the office of U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert:
Patient-controlled Healthcare Protection
The Principles by U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert
As a matter of principle, healthcare should be patient-centered and patient-controlled. That means individualized, personalized and humanized.
We have a crisis in the cost and availability of healthcare for too many Americans. We need a new approach that puts patients back in charge. Any reform must guarantee patient's access to:
- The treatment you need
- When you need it
- With the doctor of your choosing, and
- At a price that is affordable and covered
by your HSA, or
your catastrophic insurance.
As a matter of principle, healthcare should be determined by you and your doctor. Unfortunately, health insurance companies have become healthcare managers. They need to be back in the business of insurance for higher amounts, NOT micromanagers. No insurance bureaucrat or government bureaucrat should be able to force a decision that is against the wishes of you and your doctor.
Therefore, this plan provides everyone in America with a personal, individual Health Savings Account that allows you to control your healthcare decisions. It also provides catastrophic insurance for every American to provide coverage above the Health Savings Account's annual amount to protect against major illness or accident.
This plan takes everyone out of the patient room except YOU and YOUR doctor. No more government restrictions or waste that lowers your quality of care. No more insurance companies denying your treatment and driving up your costs. With this plan, all healthcare costs that currently go toward paying government bureaucrats and insurance personnel will go toward providing healthcare.
Instead, this plan puts YOU, the patient, in charge of YOUR own healthcare decisions.
Every American gets a personalized Health Savings Account (HSA) that puts you in charge of your own healthcare decisions, rather than a government or insurance bureaucrat.
Everyone in America would maintain a personal, family, household, or employer-provided HSA.
- The American government & insurance companies have invaded the sacred doctor-patient relationship. Too often, insurance companies or government bureaucracies are invisibly but dangerously present in your patient room. They limit the options doctors have for treating you, the patient.
- An HSA slams the door on those silent deniers of healthcare, leaving it to the patient and the doctor alone to choose treatment options.
- An HSA allows you, the patient, to spend money directly from your own HSA on the care you choose, rather than filtering it through premiums, profits, and taxes first. Doctors will be free to diagnose, advise, and treat in consultation with their patient. Now, treatment will be based on the patient's actual condition, not on the insurance card's fine print or the arbitrary decisions of a far-off bureaucrat. This initiative also puts no limit whatsoever on how much money you can save for healthcare free of taxes.
- An HSA will save you, the patients, your hard-earned money. As your HSA grows, you will have more money and can raise your deductible IF YOU WANT TO in order to directly lower premiums, saving you even more money at the end of the month. Or, you can leave your deductible where it is and save up for other medical costs. Once again, the choice is YOURS.
- Our priority is to expand access to healthcare for all Americans, so this initiative eliminates government restrictions on who can create a joint HSA. For anyone other than a married couple, the plan only requires participants to (1) live in the same household and (2) have a signed agreement dividing the HSA upon leaving the household. No government mandates. Maximum flexibility for the patient.
With HSAs, the government gets out of the way and empowers your healthcare options, rather than limiting them. Individuals, employers, or joint households can contribute to the HSA before taxes. Plus, you have the control to spend your account on any healthcare service you and your doctor decide on.
- It's time to end the game of denying patients the care they need. Too often, insurance companies and government programs are more focused on what coverage you can't have than what you can have. With an HSA, you can spend your money on any healthcare-related service you need. That includes anything from over-the-counter and prescription medications, to dental care, eye care or anything else that is healthcare-related.
- Health Savings Accounts allow families to give the gift of quality health care to future generations. Your HSA grows with you and your family because it can be passed on to future generations. It's the American way for one generation to leave something better for the next, and it should be that way for American healthcare too.
You have the option to put your Health Savings Account to work for you if you choose. You deserve the opportunity to see your investment in your health grow over time, so that you and your family can be provided for.
- Any amount over $2,500 for a single person household or $3,500 for multi-person household may be invested which would include stable, inflation-protected federal treasury bonds so that your investment can have added growth. A separate type of Federal Treasury bond may be created in other legislation specifically for such investment. That way, as long as there is a United States, your healthcare savings will be there for you when you need it.
Paying for your treatment is simple. And it's all about you.
- You save your money tax-free. You receive a debit card tied to your savings. You use your card to pay for any healthcare expense you need. It's that simple.
- No more burdensome paperwork. No more 12-round fights with insurance companies to receive the simple coverage you were promised. If you are a senior, then no more being told that Medicare doesn't cover what you need.
- Paying for healthcare will be as simple as paying for your groceries. Just pick your product at the clearly marked price, go to the register, and swipe. This way, patients can have all the information they need to choose their doctor, their hospital, and their treatment for their individual situation.
The current level of spending and growth in healthcare cost will bankrupt America very soon and must be stopped. Under this new proposed plan, the government continues to deliver what it has promised to patients, giving them the control, while saving billions of dollars. It is also done in a way that puts patients' needs first and eliminates the waste, fraud, and abuse that are rampant in existing federal spending programs. The latest numbers on TAX DOLLARS spent for healthcare are for 2007. They show that in 2007, spending on Medicare grew to over $431 billion. Total Medicaid spending grew to $329.4 billion. Combined the two programs cost taxpayers $760.4 billion which is an average for every household in America of $9,200 of tax dollars. That is absurd and unsustainable.
- If you are covered today by Medicare or Medicaid or SCHIP or you are without employment, you will receive a Health Savings Account of $2,500 for a single person household or $3,500 for multi-person household to pay for your expenses. No more worrying about whether Medicare will cover your condition; now you have the power and the resources to pay for the treatment you need directly.
- On top of that, your premiums for a catastrophic healthcare policy will be paid for as well. No more worrying about whether, if the time comes, you will be able to afford the hospital stays or surgeries necessary to save your life. And considering the figures above, you can see why we are better off just putting $2,500 for a single person household or $3,500 for multi-person household in an HSA account and paying for the insurance above that, rather than paying $9,200 for every household in America.
- We must act now to curb the waste, fraud, and abuse that run rampant in our government healthcare programs. They drive up costs, drive down quality of care, and ultimately will fail to deliver what they promise.
- We simply cannot afford to keep making the same mistakes, especially when we know for a fact that in a matter of years Medicare and Medicaid simply run out of money, leaving our most vulnerable without the care they need. With Health Savings Accounts, we ensure that the money goes straight where it's needed - on treating the patient - rather than wasted in a Washington bureaucracy.
Ask most Americans and they will agree: the greatest fear we all have is the impossible cost of a catastrophic medical event. So Health Savings Accounts work hand-in-hand with a new approach to catastrophic insurance coverage.
- Individuals, employers, associations, or the government (for our vulnerable) can secure this top layer of coverage.
- Every American will carry a catastrophic insurance policy for expenses above their HSA. That way, if the time comes for major expenses, you are covered.
- These insurance policies will be more affordable than policies available today, because the HSA will cover smaller expenses. Insurance will do what it does best: covering you when you need it for life's catastrophic events.
- This plan prohibits insurance companies from cherry-picking only the healthiest, youngest, and least risky Americans so that coverage will not be denied for those who need it most. For those who are deemed high risk, there will be a high risk insurance pool (just like with car insurance in many states) of which all insurance companies who wish to insure the healthy will have to insure their pro rata share.
This plan instills transparency in the healthcare options you have, rather than allowing insurance companies and hospitals to "bill at will."
- You deserve to know exactly what your treatment will do and EXACTLY how much it will cost. Up-front. Period.
- And you deserve to pay the same cost for the same treatment as the patient in the room next door. Period.
- This plan puts an end to the days of charging cash-paying patients quadruple or more what insurance companies pay.
A panel of healthcare experts will be formed to constantly make sure that all costs related to healthcare are on the list of things you can swipe your HSA Debit card to pay for. You can use your eligibility based on the latest science and treatment innovations.
- Since funds from your HSA must be spent on healthcare-related items, this panel will exist ONLY to ensure that anything related to healthcare really will be covered. It will consist of healthcare experts as well as patients from across the country to ensure that if it is healthcare related, it is on the list of things for which your HSA Debit card will be accepted for payment.
Veterans are special. So they deserve to continue to receive special benefits from the government and nation they have bravely served. This plan leaves untouched the benefits we currently provide our best and bravest.
Those who dream of coming to live, work, and contribute in America must honor the same responsibilities as existing American citizens.
- Because the plan requires all American citizens to carry a Health Savings Account, it also requires all immigrants to America to prove they will also be part of either an employer's migrant worker HSA, or a household HSA, or a personal one they have already obtained. Those same potential immigrants must also provide proof that they will be covered by a catastrophic insurance policy for amounts over their HSA. Without such proof, there will be no VISA issued.
No more gatekeepers. You go to the doctor you want. If the doctor agrees, you go. No more trying to get a gatekeeper to let you go to a specialist. It is up to the specialist if that is where you want to go.
- You own and control your healthcare without government interference. You can see who you want, when you want.
The Bottom Line is this: It's time to put patients first. Health Savings Accounts create a genuinely patient-centered approach to healthcare, which is what Americans want, expect, and demand. No more obstacles between you and your doctor. No more denial of the treatments and cures you deserve. You choose the doctor or specialist you want to see. No insurance company, HMO, or government bureaucrat will have the power to tell you that you can't. With Health Savings Accounts, medicine is about the patient's needs, the doctor's diagnosis, and nothing else.