Thursday, December 15, 2005

Redistribution Can't Fix LBJ

The public hearings over the new hospital fees expose one truth about contemporary attitudes towards healthcare: no one wants to pay for it. People, nowadays, treat the imposition of higher fees like some crime against humanity. To pay for what you receive is practically unheard of, unwanted and distrusted in our great territory.

Now, advocates of redistribution propose “new” taxes on property, bottled water, fatty foods and anything else that comes within their crosshairs during their fancies of theft and confiscation to fund our hospital.

Instead of relying on their repackaged redistribution schemes again and again, we need to move forward in making the provider and the consumer deal directly with each other.

Fees should cover costs instantly, and the board should apply them equally for both rich and poor. The LBJ Board should be aiming to make a profit, and their fees need to reflect that goal. On top of that, the LBJ should face open competition, and to do that, the ASG should cut all ties with the entity, cut all the red tape and licensing requirements, and ask healthcare entrepreneurs to come.

Patients, the people, need to pool their money together voluntarily. Religious congregations will be the best place to start. They can easily set up bank accounts. The church can require members to donate a certain minimum every month. They can vote on which medical services their pooled money will pay for. They can also add in deductibles and co payments for less popular medical needs to cater to other members. Strict accountability would be required lest members go to another church for a better medical insurance plan.

Any group of people who want to put their money together should do so. Get the ASG out of the way and get the community involved in helping solve the LBJ problem. The government only needs to enforce contracts and punish those who fraud, cheat and steal from others.

In following this approach, market incentives will address, improve and lower the cost of healthcare while charity and community cooperation will make for a more humane, civil and caring society.

My ideas may sound radical, but who’s tired (except for me apparently) of the same old redistribution schemes heralded by proponents like Thomas Goldthwaite, Governor Togiola, the Fono and others?

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