Fields Health Care Proposal: Let The Uninsured Die

Guest Columnist

sam fields

Should the Federal government be able to force all Americans to buy health insurance or, alternatively, pay a significant penalty for opting out of the program?
If you want to take your chances on health care, should the government deny you that right?  If you decide to go uninsured, should the rest of us have to pay for your emergency room care when your kid needs an appendectomy or you break your leg? 
There is a simple, albeit a Draconian measure, that solves the debate about health care that has dominated Washington for over a year:
No reimbursement to providers — doctors, nurses, hospitals, clinics or pharmacies — for services provided to the uninsured.

At the same time providers would have absolute immunity when they refuse service to the uninsured. 
If doctors feel some professional obligation to treat the uninsured, they are on their own. Such doctors would be liable for all medical costs.
The poor wouldn’t be singled out under my proposal. Every congressional insurance proposal has a sliding scale based on income.

Some low income people may have to make a choice between a $6 pack of cigarettes every day or buying health insurance. That is their choice.    

There no reason for someone to opt out except out of principle or to save a buck by betting on their health. They should be allowed that right.
However, if they or their kids are diagnosed with a costly disease it’s too late. While you can still sign up for insurance, there would be exclusion for the preexisting conditions.
Don’t compare this to the current system that bans preexisting conditions.  That ban prevents the insured from changing companies when they have lost or changed their job. That’s just wrong.
What I am talking about are the kinds folks who don’t want to buy hurricane insurance until a Category 3 is a day away.  Fortunately they can’t get away with that scam.
Under my proposal will some die who otherwise would have been cured?  Sure.
But it is the best way to protect free choice without enabling healthcare chiselers.

10 Responses to “Fields Health Care Proposal: Let The Uninsured Die”

  1. admin says:

    This idea by Sam Fields is interesting, but deeply flawed.

    Sam apparently believes that all those who lack health insurance are voluntarily making that choice.

    That thinking reminds me of Ronald Reagan, who believed that there was legions of welfare cheats using their government money to drive Cadillacs.

    What about the mentally ill homeless? What about the working poor who can hardly put food on their tables?

    Americans would not sit still for people being allowed to die on the streets in front of a hospital for lack of insurance.

    Under Sam’s plan, a monied person with the same illness would be ushered past the dying mob in the streets into the hospital to be treated.

    It wouldn’t solve our health care crisis. It would turn America’s health care from the best to the worst in the world. And the most heartless!

    —buddy nevins

  2. The Best? says:

    Buddy – great response to Sam’s idea (although I think that on at least some of Sam’s comments, tongue was planted firmly in cheek — or at least I hope so).

    However, commenting that America’s health care system is the best in the world is in my opinion, an inaccurate statement.

    Yes, we have some of (if not most of) the finest doctors and hospitals in the world. I believe the finest medicine is practiced in the United States. I believe we have some of (if not the) best medical technology in the world.

    But America’s “health care” is not the best.

    It is rationed to those with cadillac insurance plans or those on government plans where pre-approval isn’t required.

    There are billions wasted on unnecessary tests and procedures because of the potential of liability (and I have handled both sides of those kinds of cases).

    There are untold billions wasted on insurance forms, processing and miles of paperwork.

    The United States spends multiples more per capita than any other Western country on health care, yet we do not achieve, on average better results.

    Doctors and pharmacists in other countries with mandatory health coverage for all citizens make very good livings.

    Delays for ELECTIVE procedures can occur, but for important issues, waiting is not a problem.

    You choose your doctor and you get treated for your illness.

    People say I don’t want socialized medicine, but we already have it in the United States — it’s called Medicare. And Medicare, which treats the oldest and most sick individuals in this Country, while underfunded at present due to the incompetence of the Federal Government, is still FAR LESS EXPENSIVE than private health insurance and care in this Country.

    Per dollar spent on Medicare costs, the costs for processing and handling the claims is apparently 1/4 or less than what private insurers spend per dollar of health care. Wow, more dollars going to treat patients and pay doctors rather than claims processing, paperwork shuffling, etc.

    Even as a fiscal conservative, I believe that government is there to do for the people what it is not cost effective or efficient for people to do for themselves — that’s why governments build roads, pay a police department, support a military, patrol our borders.

    Some basic level of health care is also something that government has the ability to do cheaper and more efficiently than the patchwork of private insurers.

    Do we scap the private insurance system? I’d advise against it. But providing some level of basic health care of all Americans so we don’t spend $2,500 having some uninsured person go to an Emergency Room because of the flu instead of a primary care doctor seems worth the cost.

    I agree with your statement that Americans would not stand for people dying in the street in front of hospitals because they were refused treatment because they were poor, or mentally ill, or too old, etc.

    Similarly, if people were told in simple language that 25% of every dollar on private health insurance was spent on processing paper and only 5% of Medicare spending was for the processing, most would choose to pay some of what they now spend on healthcare for some plan offered by the same, more efficient entity that provides health coverage to our parents and grandparents.

    Sorry for the long post. Enjoy the blog and I think Sam’s post was excellent as was your response.


  3. CuriousO says:

    Buddy is right except for the part about usa having the best health insurance, which is truly debatable and subject to a serious analysis.

    thanks, sam fields, for initiating the debate. do you think the Canadian health care system is a good system?

  4. S.O.B. says:

    welcome the discussion, but simply put is it Health Care we are discussing or is it Health Payment???? todays TV saw a lot of campaigning speaches, and not a lot of positions…it will be partisan ideas or not until our leaders STOP and get to work to correct a broken system. Why not allow Medicare to bargin with big pharma for the best $$$ as they are the biggest buyer of Pharms..the VA does it in some ways!!! thx for the place to rant …

  5. Dr. Phil says:

    One problem is that Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, are controlled by Big Pharma. The cost of some drugs are ridiculous and there has been no move to control that.
    No one has been able to explain why I can get the same drug for half the price in Canada or even Europe.
    Imagine if we could import drugs legally from Canada what a savings that would produce.
    No one can tell me that drugs from Canada aren’t as safe as those in this country, or drugs from Europe, too.
    Half the drugs we take now are manufactured in India.

  6. Esquire says:

    How can anybody take the droolings of Sam Fields above seriously?
    Buddy is right. Nobody in their right mind would want people dying for lack of care except Sam. Some people don’t have the ability or the money to choose to buy insurance and Sam should know that since he represented some of them as a criminal defense attorney.

  7. Mr.Jay says:

    Fields got it all wrong! Why is health care expensive and in the toilet. Well the problem is one word ILLEGALS! They ae tearing up our system and costing us billions that we all pay for.
    There was an article in the Dallas paper about a ER doc at an ER at a boarder town. He tells the story how illegals come in for care with their anchor babies.

    One woman age 25 already had 8 kids crossed the boarder to have them, collects 1300 per month from Uncle Sam for welfare because the kids are US citizens and gets all the free medical she needs.

    So I ask we need to clean up this illegal mess first! Send them all back stop anchor babies and repeal Dryer vs Doe

  8. SAM FIELDS says:

    I am dead serious. Pun intended.

    “Bleeding Heart” Buddy has nothing to worry about.

    Those with poverty incomes ($21,000 for a family) are still going to get Medicaid. Medicare will still be available for the elderly of whom, as of last week, includes me.

    Virtually all proposals limit the premium to no more than 8% of income.

    So who is this person that is going to be left out in the cold.

    1. Illegal aliens because they cannot participate in the program. That will definitely depopulate the Emergency Rooms. It will keep them from crossing the border to birth children in our hospitals while simultaneously making their kids American citizens and footing us with the bill that in some cases can be a million when the baby has birth defects.

    2. Risk takers. For example the Twenty Something making $30,000 grand a year who would rather use the $2500 (roughly 8%)to pay for his lifestyle. Fine . But when the lifestyle leaves him HIV positive—a preexisting condition— that’s a big OOPS.

    Let the media run enough stories about how dying risk takers bankrupted their families and the rest will shape up. to fail. We cannot survive very long if the responsible of us are forced to subsidize the reckless.

    Let’s not forget that freedom means the freedom to fail.

  9. Nate says:

    Happy Birthday Sam.

    FROM BUDDY: Sam Fields was 65 last Saturday.

  10. What Would Reagan Do? says:

    The interesting thng about those who forego health insurance is that they don’t run to the doctor everytime their nose runs. We should be insuring for catastrophic events and hospitalization. We should not require anyone to insure doctor visits. However, nothing will lower healthcare costs unless we seriously address tort reform.