The "Citizens in Charge" Health Care System - A new, revolutionary "socialized free market" health care system that covers everyone, eliminates health insurance hassles, ends health care monopolies and encourages individual investment in disease preventionby Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, editor of NaturalNews.com
The "Citizens In Charge" health care system is a progressively-funded, free-market based system of health care that puts health care decisions back into the hands of the People, allowing them to spend their government-provided health care funds on any health-related products or services they choose (conventional, alternative, licensed or unlicensed).
It is a complete replacement for all existing health care payer systems: Private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. It would effectively end the health insurance industry and eliminate the enormous overhead waste of insurance paperwork management at hospitals, clinics and government administration offices. It also ends the state licensing of health service providers, effectively "legalizing healing" and allowing all health service providers to practice healing arts as long as patients are willing to pay for their services.
But all health care service providers may be rated by their customers (patients) following their visit. "Citizens In Charge" calls for the creation of a national online database of health care service providers that allows customers (patients) to rate their quality of service, thereby building a national knowledge base of health care service providers who provide the most effective health care outcomes for the dollars invested. This ferrets out charlatans and quacks who don't get good results while bringing increased recognition to those practitioners who do get good results.
The "Citizens In Charge" system is based on the idea that health insurance is only appropriate for coverage of "catastrophic" care (accidents, heart attacks, etc.), not routine, day-to-day health care needs. For routine health care needs, a "voucher system" paid by the government (effectively paid by the taxpayers) -- but managed individually by each person -- would greatly improve health care outcomes while substantially increasing the efficiency of results achieved per dollar spent.
Here's how it works:
- "Citizens in Charge" would provide full, single-payer (federal government) coverage for all "catastrophic" health care needs, such as accidents and acute medical emergencies, almost all of which would be served under the existing system of conventional medical clinics, hospitals and physicians. The definition of "catastrophic" health care is explained below.
- For non-catastrophic care, provide U.S. residents with government-funded vouchers that they may spend on any health-related products or services, putting the People back in control of cost accountability for their health care shopping decisions. This would encourage health care spending efficiency while eliminating the waste and overhead of health insurance paperwork (which doubles the work of clinics and hospitals) and wasteful Medicare / Medicaid administration. When the People are handed responsibility for making their own health-related economic decisions, efficiency and self care dramatically improve.
- Each resident of the United States shall be provided an amount no less than $350 per month in the form of a government-funded debit card (which is much less than the current per-capita spending on health care by the U.S. government, which is approaching $7,000). Parents or legal guardians shall be issued an additional $350 each month for each child under their care. This is a "semi-socialized" free-market health care formula that progressively covers routine health care needs for all residents, regardless of economic status, while putting both power and responsibility back into the hands of the People. The People must then plan how they will budget that $350 per month to best invest in their own health.
- Each month, an additional $350 is deposited by the government onto the debit card. If unused, these funds accumulate on the card to a maximum of $10,000, after which any additional funds are forfeited. This would encourage residents to invest in their health by spending the funds on a regular basis on preventive health-related products and services. And that, in turn, would greatly reduce the long-term costs of degenerative disease "crisis" care which is far more expensive than preventive care. This forfeiture of any balance over $10,000 would also discourage the "hoarding" of voucher money that should be invested in personal health.
- "Citizens In Charge" debit cards may be freely used to purchase any health-related products or services, including health-related services from licensed or unlicensed practitioners of health-related services: Chiropractic care, nutrition coaching, naturopathic medical services, midwife services, gym memberships, dietary supplements, herbal products, and so on. If desired, residents may also choose to spend their funds on vaccines, dental care, mammograms or any conventional medical products or services.
- "Citizens In Charge" debit cards may not be used to purchase alcohol, tobacco, processed foods, electronics, clothing, cosmetics, gasoline, lawn care or other products that are not directly related to health. Such debit cards may, however, be used to purchased fresh, unprocessed, raw produce, which contain many medicinal compounds that enhance and protect health. (This measure would greatly encourage the purchasing and consumption of fresh produce, which is strongly associated with reduced risk of degenerative disease.)
- Citizens may, if they choose, spend their debit card funds to pay for the health care products or services of others. This allows families and communities to make local, informed decisions about health care economics and priorities. If 1,000 members of a church each want to donate one month's credit ($350) to pay for one person's liver transplant, that is within their right and power to do so. This "funding mobility" feature would encourage commonsense, local decisions about health care spending priorities that have real economic effects on the individuals involved.
- Require all health-related vendors to accept and process such debit cards through the existing merchant processing infrastructure that already processes purchases for Visa, Mastercard and other credit / debit cards.
- Any non-catastrophic medical needs beyond the funds issued via debit card to each resident must be paid out of pocket by that resident. This creates an incentive for people to invest their debit card funds wisely and to plan for maximizing their health results in the most cost-effective way (which is what governments and insurance companies routinely fail to do, but individuals are really good at accomplishing).
- The definition of "catastrophic" care shall be decided and maintained by a panel of nine publicly-elected "Health Judges" who shall be elected by a national online referendum that gives each citizen nine votes under an Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) equation (see InstantRunoff.com for an explanation). This will allow the definition of "catastrophic" care to evolve over time with the needs of the public.
- Build the National Health Services Ratings Knowledge Base: Host a government-funded health care services rating website that allows any resident who spends money with a health service provider to submit a rating (a vote) regarding the quality of services offered by that provider.
- Each debit card expenditure is tied to a vote, meaning that the People will be voting with their dollars while simultaneously building a health services rating knowledge base that is searchable by all other citizens. In this way, a health service provider that takes people's money but provides poor service would be rated poorly by their patients, alerting others. A provider of high-quality services, on the other hand, would appear with high ratings, attracting more customers.
- Each health services provider would be rated in two areas: QUALITY of service and VALUE of service. The public visibility of these ratings would encourage service providers to offer the highest-quality (most effective) services at reasonable prices (at a good value).
- This conceptually simple solution re-frames the entire health care system, transforming "patients" into "customers" and "doctors" into "service providers." It lets the People vote on what works, and it allows everyone to easily check the ratings of a health services provider before deciding to spend money with them. It also encourages health service providers to greatly improve the quality of their services as well as the long-term results that are achieved.
- Allowing the customers (the People) to vote with their dollars on what works best eliminates the need for state medical licensing oversight while eliminating fraud and wasteful spending on health care service providers that do not produce results.
How it works: Searching for a health care service provider
Thanks to the online knowledge base of health care service providers, any new customer (patient) that wishes to check the ratings of a potential service provider before visiting them can go online and search for that service provider. There, they will see the following information:
Service provider's name
# of customer visits (total and last 12 months)
# of ratings submitted by customers
Average QUALITY rating
Average VALUE rating
Text comments by customers (patients)
This simple system would allow anyone to check out the track record of a health care service provider before visiting them. Obviously, this would greatly encourage service providers to offer high-quality services at affordable prices if they wish to stay competitive and continue to attract customers.
It is precisely this sense of competition that is lacking in the health care system today. The current medical system is largely operated as a monopoly where patients have little choice and almost no power to select non-traditional providers. This online knowledge base restores competition and accountability to the system while putting patients in charge of making the economics of their health care choices.
Summary of the "Citizens In Charge" health care system:
• Covers all routine health care costs of all U.S. residents, regardless of income or economic status.
• Covers all "catastrophic" health care costs for everyone, using a single-payer system.
• Invests in disease prevention and health support by allowing people to spend their health care dollars on nutrition, gym memberships, healing arts services and other products or services that prevent disease and protect health.
• Frees natural and alternative health services providers to legally practice healing arts while receiving fair compensation for doing so.
• Ends the territorial licensing practices that M.D.s (and even some N.D. groups) use to monopolize health care while shutting out non-traditional healing arts practitioners.
• Immediately slashes virtually all health care costs by approximately 50% due to the elimination of paperwork waste, which currently dominates the efforts of hospitals and clinics. With the paperwork out of the way, health care professionals can focus on health while greatly reducing costs.
• Puts health care decisions back into the hands of the People, empowering them to make economic decisions about their health care by "shopping around" for the best health care services offered at the most reasonable prices. This is crucial for controlling costs.
• Re-frames the health care system, transforming "patients" into "customers" and "doctors" into "service providers."
• Creates a national online database of ratings for health care service providers, allowing people to rate their service provider each time they spend money on health-related services.
• Empowers the People to take charge of their own health care instead of blindly relying on someone else to "treat" them, regardless of cost.
• Makes health care costs VISIBLE instead of invisible (as they are with health insurance). Presently, most patients have no idea what their hospital visits or health care services actually cost and that's a recipe for outlandish waste and fraud. Under the "Citizens In Charge" system, each individual sees exactly how much they are spending on medications, doctor's visits or other health services, and they instantly become interested in saving money while seeking out improved health care outcomes.
Got a suggestion for improving this system? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
About the "Citizens In Charge" health care system:
This system was authored by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, editor of NaturalNews.com as part of the effort to create the Health Revolution Petition. It was based on ideas discussed with numerous health practitioners and health freedom advocates, and it emphasizes personal responsibility and free-market freedoms that minimize government intervention in health care decisions.
Who will hate this system? Everyone who has a vested interested in the status quo, which is a monumental ripoff that's soaking the taxpayers for hundreds of billions of dollars each year. That includes:
• Health insurance companies
• Drug companies
• Conventional doctors
• The cancer industry
• Anyone that provides an over-priced health care service that gets poor results
• Anyone who has a job pushing paper in the current broken health care system
Who will LOVE this system? Everyone who benefits from lower costs and improved health care outcomes:
• The People (the customers)
• Naturopaths and healing arts practitioners
• Nutrition product providers
• Gyms and fitness centers
• Midwives and natural childbirth advocates
• Honest health care service providers that get good results