The authors of a grassroots National Health Insurance Plan say it is designed to save billions of dollars; and more importantly, to save lives.
Every minute of every day, another family goes bankrupt because of medical expenses. People are dying because they don’t have access to health care with nearly the same frequency. Americans spend more than twice what other industrialized countries spend on health care, yet many people don’t see their doctors because of the high co-pays. Meanwhile, doctors spend an average of two hours on insurance paperwork for every hour they spend with patients.
“The solution is not to leave the people’s health and lives, and the health of American businesses and the American economy, in the hands of corporate health insurance companies who, when it comes to deciding what to pay for and which doctors we can see, get to choose what is best for their profits,” says economist Dennis Paulaha, Ph.D., who worked with William Ulrich to create something better. “The solution is not to risk damaging Medicare, one of our most successful and most trusted government programs, by expanding it to include everyone. Nor do we want a government takeover of healthcare.”
Paulaha and Ulrich say the solution is to create a new government agency, National Health Insurance, to offer health insurance to everyone who is not on Medicare or Medicaid. “This has nothing to do with socialized medicine,” they emphasize, adding the reminder that Medicare is not free. It is prepaid insurance.
Rather, the National Health Insurance would expand the Medicare model for coverage and use the management expertise developed by Medicare, which has administrative costs of about two percent, compared with the 18 to 20 percent administrative costs of corporate insurance companies. With this plan:
- The federal government establishes a health insurance company that offers better coverage and lower premiums to everyone who is not on Medicaid or Medicare.
- Everyone can choose his or her own doctor
- Everyone is covered from birth to 65
- When they reach 65, they move to Medicare
This economic plan is a win for all of America
Paulaha, who co-authored the National Health Insurance Plan with entrepreneur-turned philanthropist William Ulrich, says the purpose is to have a government-run health insurance agency offer a better alternative to corporate health insurance companies, and to let everyone choose what they believe is the best insurance company: a for-profit health insurance company or the government plan.
The plan would increase efficiencies and lower costs. “By eliminating waste, inefficiency, fraud and multimillion dollar CEO salaries, we predict the premiums paid by employers and individuals will be half what corporate insurance companies are charging,” explains Paulaha.
The plan is a project of The Rainbow Movement, a nonprofit organization established by Ulrich to promote organizations that do positive work. The details are straightforward:
- Corporations and individuals will have the freedom to choose either a private or government health insurance plan. “And because the government plan will have better coverage and lower premiums, we predict almost everyone will choose National Health Insurance.”
- Employers and individuals who are currently buying insurance from corporate insurance companies can now buy less expensive policies from the government, which lowers their costs, increases their profits, and does not add anything to government spending.
- Medicare and Medicaid are left as they are to avoid the risk of being destroyed by a failed expansion. “Medicare and Medicaid work. We do not want to disrupt either program or risk the well-being of older Americans simply because some sort of Medicare-for-all program seems like an easy solution. We want to keep the problems and solutions separate.”
- Government subsidies for low-income individuals and families with health insurance will continue, but because National Health Insurance premiums are expected to cost half as much as corporate premiums, government subsidy spending on Affordable Care Act premiums falls from about $800 billion to about $400 billion a year. The savings can be used to subsidize part or all of the premiums for everyone who is currently uninsured, which is estimated to cost $70 billion a year.”
This is a business plan for America
Paulaha emphasizes that this is not a copy of European healthcare plans. “It keeps America’s private healthcare industry, which has the best doctors, the best hospitals, and the best pharmaceutical companies in the world, private, although it will be necessary to control some monopoly drug prices,” he elaborates. “And everyone will be able to choose his or her own doctors, which is not the case with many corporate health insurance plans.”
He and Ulrich envision phasing in the plan by first making it only available to 64-year-olds, then reducing the age of eligibility one year at a time. “Of course, after two or three years, the success of the policy is expected to lead businesses and individuals to demand everyone be included as quickly as possible,” they conclude.
Paulaha says, as an economist, he knows there will be pushback to their idea. “Wall Street does not like the idea of government handling health insurance, because Wall Street wants to protect the value of health insurance companies. We are more interested in protecting human lives, families, incomes, business profits, wealth, and the United States economy.”
To learn more about the National Health Insurance Plan and receive email updates and to help make it a reality, visit www.nathealthinsurance.com. To sign the petition supporting The National Health Insurance Plan, go to Change.org.
Biography: William Ulrich
William Ulrich, like a number of famously successful people with dyslexia, overcame his disabilities to create and run two businesses that brought in hundreds of millions of dollars. He is now spending his time, energy and resources to do good in the world; to help make the world a better place for as many people as possible.
Biography: Dennis Paulaha, Ph.D.
Dr. Paulaha has B.S. and M.A. degrees in economics from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Washington with a specialization in environmental economics. As a college and university professor, he taught macroeconomic and microeconomic theory at the principles, intermediate, advanced and graduate level, monetary theory and policy, environmental economics, and special issues courses. In the real world, he wrote investment newsletters with more than 70,000 paid subscribers and was Vice President of research and marketing for a national brokerage firm. He has been interviewed by magazines and newspapers and has appeared on television and radio programs discussing his books.