One big objection to universal health care is the government’s insistence everyone participate. They say people should not be forced to pay for something they do not want to pay for.
Fair enough. The government can certainly give people a choice to opt out of something which they will inevitably need. Statistically there are few if any people who will never need health care, even seriously expensive health care. Nevertheless, why not give everyone the choice if that will settle the matter?
Here's an idea - No person, no matter their age, will be required to purchase health care insurance, and can choose to pay as they go. However, and here is the rub: Each time a person uses any part of the health care system, they must pay their costs in full. They can choose to pay cash, or find a way to finance the cost themselves, with no forgiveness of costs allowed. By law, each individual would be fully responsible for the full costs of any health care received.
If the individual is unable to pay for health care received, the government will pay the full amount owed and enroll them in a government plan at that point, with no right to cancel. Premiums from that point would be increased by an amount sufficient to cover the cost of the amount paid by the government on the individual’s behalf, PLUS A PENALTY, over a reasonable time period - say two to three years. When the amount paid on their behalf by the government, plus their penalty is fully recovered, they could again choose to drop their plan if they so wished.
In other words, if you use it, you pay for it. All individuals have the choice to either ‘pay-as-they-go’ or participate in a health care plan, with no free rides. No exceptions will be allowed except for those falling below a certain defined poverty or disability level.
This kind of system will allow the government to guarantee payment to health care providers. The individual has a choice to opt out of health care coverage if they so wish, yet still be guaranteed any health care needed. The individual would be gambling the cost of any potential penalties against his ‘freedom’ to opt out of a plan.
There will certainly be unrecovered costs incurred by the government for some individuals who are unable to fully reimburse for the health care they receive. However, this should be far less than the costs now incurred through non-reimbursed emergency room visits now occasioned by the non-insured.
Most individuals will discover it is far less expensive for them to voluntarily maintain health care coverage than to pay penalties for non-coverage, yet will still have the choice to gamble if they so wish. It is a win for everyone except for the gamblers.
Unfortunately, this idea likely makes far too much sense for any hyper-partisan Congress to even consider.