10 Steps to Consider to Fund and Provide Health Care for All
By Joyce Hays, MS and Jules Mitchel, MBA, PhD
Since we are all going to be a patient at multiple points in our lives, policy makers must support healthcare as a right rather than a choice. Therefore, from a strict business perspective, we must all pay for the right to have healthcare when we need it, and thus be part of the risk pool. It should not matter whether one is 1) working for a company that does or does not provide health insurance; 2) a sole practitioner; 3) unemployed; or 4) for whatever reason unable to work and pay premiums. The issue is, therefore, how to make healthcare universally available, and how to fund healthcare and health insurance premiums. While there are many more issues that must be addressed, here are 10 ideas that could make a difference right away:
- All citizens should have the same healthcare benefits provided to all members of congress who work for us. And that all American citizens, through their tax dollars, pay for the insurance that all of the congress enjoys.
- As taxpayers, we fund the critical research performed and supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as other government agencies such as the Department of Defense (DoD). As a result, and as a return on our investment (ROI), a royalty from licenses/sales and any financial transactions related to any pharmaceuticals and devices that received funding from any government agency be allocated directly to healthcare services to all of our citizens.
- To encourage well educated US citizens, with good jobs that yield tax dollars, we should provide automatic paths to: work visas and to citizenship for any foreign college student graduating with a minimum of a B average, and for any graduate student receiving an advanced degree.
- As part of attending a medical school, tuition-free PLAN, all physicians must return to their solemn commitment and passion to assure that healthcare is available for those who need it, which is all of us.
To accomplish this, physicians should be required to provide services at public clinics in underserved geographical areas 1 day per week, on a salary basis, in return for the free medical school tuition. Additional salaries can be paid to those who want to commit more time to the public clinics, and additional insurance can be bought by patients who want “concierge” medicine, private rooms in hospitals, etc. When I was at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, all licensed full-time physicians and pharmacists working at the company were allowed, on company time, to provide medical services one half day per week. The Pfizer Medical Director I worked for provided these services at a rheumatology clinic at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, a city hospital. Similarly, many at Pfizer in Groton CT worked at Yale, Hartford Hospital, and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center at no cost to the institutions.
- The U.S. should open more medical school slots for future physicians which will allow for more staffing of the public clinics.
- The U.S. should encourage the use of telemedicine and remote medical devices to reduce patient travel for office visits.
- The U.S. should allow for more mobility by physicians across state line, all states respect medical and healthcare licenses issued by any other state.
- The U.S. should extend the patent life of life-saving drugs and devices.
- Health Insurance should be funded like term Life Insurance in that once the policy is bought, the premiums, which are paid for life, are also fixed for life. Therefore, the younger you are, the less expensive the premiums. Cash value may also accrue as the population becomes healthier.
- Climate change brings with it more virulent microbes. This is a new challenge to U.S. health agencies and to U.S. security. Common sense tells us that the healthier all Americans are, as a group, the greater chance to keep individuals healthy. When Americans as a group have access to healthcare, we, as a country are better able to handle pandemics, like the Zika virus, from becoming a nationwide disaster. This is the final reason to provide healthcare to all Americans and not just to a few.
For more information about Target Health contact Warren Pearlson (212-681-2100 ext. 165). For additional information about software tools for paperless clinical trials, please also feel free to contact Dr. Jules T. Mitchel or Ms. Joyce Hays. The Target Health software tools are designed to partner with both CROs and Sponsors. Please visit the Target Health Website.
Joyce Hays, Founder and Editor in Chief of On Target
Jules Mitchel, Editor