I've just gotten tired of listening to the debate on healthcare in the United States when it seems like a few common sense measures would fix many of the problems. So I laid out a very non-specific plan (hell, I'm no expert on anything but running my mouth). Maybe I'm missing something of key importance. I'll let my readers be the judges.
#1) Reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits. Most doctors live under the strain of trying to do what is best. They don't want to hurt you, even though sometimes they do. They pay too much in malpractice insurance (which, in essence, WE pay when we see them). Lawyers' advocates say we need to 'keep the doctor's in line' to prevent the medical horror stories we've all heard about -- probably from some lawyer's ad on television. I'm angry that I, who have never been near a coal mine in my life, know what mesothelioma is. Sure, if the doctor cuts off the wrong limb, sue the pants off him and then the license off him and make sure he never practices medicine again. But these huge class-action lawsuits only pad the pockets of lawyers, not patients. Get rid of them.
#2) Everyone has health care, but it doesn't cover everything. Basically, require health care to cover major illnesses and any kind of trauma. So cancer is covered and so is breaking your leg. Large companies will have to provide this healthcare coverage by law to all employees (full or part-time). Small companies will have some help (like a health-care subsidy). If you aren't working and don't have money, you already qualify for Medicaid, so things haven't changed much.
#3) For routine care, low-income people will recieve a voucher or something similar which will allow them to shop around for the best deals. We can use the power of capitalism to drive down the costs of routine care, the doctor's exam for a physical or the common cold. It can also be used for dental or pharmacy; it's all at the patient's discretion how the money is spent. Even better, the money should also be able to be spent on exercise classes or gym memberships, sort of a preventative maintenance voucher.
#4) Don't make junk food illegal, just tax it. It's already been proven that having close proximity to fast food places does NOT increase obesity rates. Apparently, people who want junk food will go the extra distance to get it. We tax booze and cigarettes. Some places tax all food (which is ridiculous). If we don't tax the good-for-us stuff, and do tax the really, really-bad-for-us stuff, people probably won't stop eating junk food (just like they didn't stop smoking). But if those taxes are 100% dedicated toward the healthcare plan, that might help offset the costs.
Of course, the only thing I haven't worked out at all is how to reduce the soaring cost of prescriptions. Then again, you'd be pleasantly surprised how many big pharmaceutical companies have programs to give out some of the most expensive drugs for free to low-income patients. After all, they get a huge tax break for doing so.