This is a guest post by Hank Keiser, an accounting and hay-farming expert (don’t laugh, you need both in the farming biz today), who has a great idea on how to resolve two thorny issues with one bold stroke.
If you will give me 5 minutes of your life, I will give you a health care plan that will work.
When U.S. taxpayers bailed out AIG, we got 80% of the stock in return. We own the corporation. Why not make it work in the best interests of the shareholders?
AIG is licensed to sell insurance, through its subsidiaries, in all 50 states. Why not sell health insurance that covers pre-existing conditions, is not employer dependent, and does not drop you (or jack your rates) if you need to use it?
Isn’t that what just about everybody wants? Wasn’t that the original intent of Mr. Obama’s plan, before it got turned into a Christmas tree by the Senate?
Doesn’t this cut the legs out from the opposition’s arguments? After all, this is not a tax-driven, big-government piece of legislation.
It has zero negative impact on the deficit, is provided by a corporation, not a government agency, and requires absolutely no legislation to enact.
In fact, it’s pure (if there is such a thing) capitalism at work – without the greed factor.
AIG doesn’t have to pay dividends, so it can plow any operating profits back into the business. It doesn’t have to pay bloated salaries, bonuses, or country club fees. It will operate with a lower overhead, hence it can charge less. Much less.
You start off by moving the management of Medicare to AIG, then all Federal government employee health insurace, then state and local government employee insurance, and finally private group and individual health insurance, all under the umbrella of a corporation. A corporation owned by the taxpayers, providing a competitive product in the marketplace. A corporation that would manage the insurance of maybe 200+ million people. That’s a pretty big pool to spread the risk.
There is a huge political upside to this – it doesn’t have to be legislated. It doesn’t care if you are a citizen or not. If you want a plan that restricts coverage for abortions, there will be other providers out there who will compete for your business.
And it is bullet proof – no bank, no financier, no corporation, no tea-bagger can scream socialism, because it is not socialism. Nobody on Wall Street turned down TARP money when it was offered, none of AIG’s creditors lost a penny in the settlements they received.
Oh, we promised not to interfere with AIG’s management when we bailed it out? Too bad, promises are broken every day on Wall Street. If you can dish it out, then you can learn to take it.
Who loses? WellPoint, Cynergy, et al. And Joe Lieberman – he loses big. Real big.
No one is saying WellPoint and the rest can’t offer health insurance that is better than this plan. After all, they aren’t being legislated out of business.
They are just going to confront honest, open competition for the first time from a publicly chartered corporation that we had stuffed down our throats because it failed to price risk correctly.