Healthcare and Simple Math

I have to tell you I got pretty excited last night watching the news.  It seems that the House has come up with a way to afford the new universal healthcare package the government is going to provide, and it will actually save as much as it costs!

The plan is simple.  The new universal healthcare plan will cost a TRILLION a year, and we can get that money by taxing the RICH and small businesses an extra 5%.  Pretty cool, I think.  Plus, and here is the best part, our government leaders are promising that so many reforms will be made in the new universal healthcare package that it will actually save an extra $500 BILLION to $1 TRILLION a year.  One Democrat leader even promised that if the savings was $1 TRILLION they would rescind the 5% tax hike on the RICH and on small business.

So, here are some math questions I have, as well as some foundational truths.

Truth #1 – Isn’t the future viability of our country based on the ability of our country to stay prosperous and financially stable?  It seems to me that our biggest challenge right now is our debt level and our sluggish economy.

Idea # 1 — What if we just put a 12-month freeze on universal healthcare, passed the tax increase on the rich, and used the money to pay off $1 TRILLION in debt?  I would also pass a law that we cut the total government budget by 10%.  It seems like most American citizens and businesses have cut back their spending by 10%; I think our elected leaders need to do the same and lead by example for a change!  I know many businesses (ours included) have had pay cuts of at least 10% – what if all government employees got a 10% pay cut?

Idea #2 – At the end of 12 months, we take the money we would have paid in interest on the $1 TRILLION in debt we paid off, and we use it to reform the healthcare system we have now.  We use the money on the things that will give us the biggest savings first.  Wow, all of a sudden the universal healthcare is starting to pay for itself, the only difference being is we waited one year to start and our debt is reduced by $1 TRILLION.  If we kept this up for the next eight years, we would be out of debt and have universal healthcare that pays for itself!  (You can check out our national debt here)

Truth #2 — Some people really need healthcare and they can’t afford it, through no fault of their own.

Idea #3 — I agree 100% with this, and I think almost every American does as well.  I hear different numbers on how many people don’t have healthcare because they can’t afford it  all of the time, so please correct me or point me to the real figures if I am substantially off base.

It seems that there are approximately 40 million in America who do not currently have healthcare.  About 15 million of those people REALLY can’t afford it and need our help.  They have special needs, or are hardship cases, etc.  Another 15 million are illegal immigrants.  And the final 10 million are people who can afford it, but choose not to – they prefer their iPods, vacations, nice cars, and fast food instead.  So the math question is – do we really have a 40 million person problem, or is it really a 15 million person problem?  I would really like your thoughts on this one because this seems to be really high level math!

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18 Comments on “Healthcare and Simple Math”

  1. I am all for keeping government out of our lives as much as possible. I think the best plan would be if some of the private insurers had an “Open Enrollment” for anyone that wanted to purchase insurance nationwide. Let individuals and small businesses purchase their insurance from one of these private insurers; thereby creating compitition between the private insurers and driving the cost down. If the government wants to help by giving each person/family/small business a tax incentive or an allowance of say $1000/$2000 or there about to subsidise them, it would still cost less than this ‘Universal Health Plan” that the Democrats and the President are trying to pass. They would not have to cover those here illegaly and if they come to an emergency room for treatment of a ‘Life Saving’ emergency, treat them then deport them back to the country they came from. There would be a whole lot less bureaucracy and the people that need insurance would be covered.

  2. Chuck Sink Says:

    Obviously the math doesn’t make any sense. Tom offers some better ideas but the whole premise of lowering healthcare costs, as touted by the politicians, is false. Medicine needs to be a competitive business like anything else. Ultimately the patients – THE CUSTOMERS must pay for services rendered and their choices would drive innovations in cost savings and improved care like we wouldn’t believe! The system is terribly broken but the current leadership is only out to grab more power over individuals. Most in this audience know this truth as well.

    • Tom Ziglar Says:

      Right on Chuck! I nearly laughed out loud when I heard that healthcare would pay for itself by the cost reductions the government improvements would make! Those improvements are really working for Social Insecurity right now!

      • Chuck Sink Says:

        Government improvements is a bit of an oxymoron wouldn’t you say? Thanks, Tom, for your fine new generation of leadership at Ziglar!

  3. Dave Says:

    All ideas sound good, except they don’t satisfy the main objective of the Democrats, graft, corruption, power and money for the architects of the plan (see Democrat healthcare plan at ).

  4. Gillian Says:

    Let me address your last Truth/Idea combination.

    First, in 2006 there were 47 million uninsured (per the US Census Bureau). That number has greatly increased with the economic downturn and record job losses, as 60% of Americans depend on employer-provided healthcare insurance and COBRA conversion plans are unaffordable for most.

    Second, affordability is a key factor (my limited benefit small business plan will cost $25,000 this year to cover just me–can you afford that?). But the US is unique in having an “individually uninsurable” class created by private insurers. What does this mean? It means outside of an employer or other group plan, insurers refuse to cover these people–under any condition.

    While most insurers do not publicize their uninsurable pre-existing conditions list, the California Department of Insurance compiled a good one:

    To give you an idea, pregnancy, planned adoption, diabetes, heart disease and cancer are on the list. It encompasses the way we come into this world and the leading causes of our exits. So if you choose your parents badly, have an unfortunate accident, or tip the scales into the 67% of Americans that are overweight, you’re out of luck. The highest healthcare costs in the world are yours alone to pay.

    So the simplest math question of all is this: can you afford to fall between the growing cracks in the US healthcare patchwork quilt?

    • Tom Ziglar Says:

      Yikes – you pay 25k a year just to cover you? Wow. What state are you in. Our company’s biggest line item is insurance as well (besides payroll) so I understand its a lot. I am wondering if other readers who are self insured would share their plans and rates?

  5. suntak Says:

    The truth is our government need to control this one because expenses have blown out of hand..with the government ruling the Hospitals, Insurance Companies, I see a much better situation here..especially in our stressful world. By putting mandtory laws on these charges which have grown outragious..can you see having an expensive Insurance Policy that will not pay for a heart attack & you are left out of your pocket $300,000 to
    pay & you have a year to do so. with this plan you pay the government around$3,000 a year in taxes. I see a grand differiential here. Canada, does & they’re healty Canadians. We have a lot of unhealthy Americans because of our former plans..the only people I see getting Rich are the Clinic’s , Doctors, & Hospitals including The Insurance Co. Somhow we must reverse the cost this way. Canada has no problem paying back into the Health care, people never get sick very often unless its an ongoing health problem. In my state the tax payers are willing to pay for TENN CARE. We had some trouble which did not take long to rebuild.
    We must look at this at a logical reason/ as we can & believe me the State regulates the amount of care you need very wisly & I agree with it, a routine check up every (6mo) in case you are living with a health condition.
    Even the SSI & Disable pay into the program, very little but let me say it is a lot more affordable.
    Something like 8 or 9 %. Where are all the Medicare & Taxs People submitted all their lives out of their Income? It did not go to a Insurance Company. If , you work 30 or 40 years you have paid
    a lot & today can’t you see the population die at a younger age. Come make mountains out of loop holes. I really don’t think anyone can tell who will die & who will have bad health in a year. Government, management in Health Care is already it across the board . that will fix it!

    • Tom Ziglar Says:

      I have heard both good and bad about Canadian Healthcare. Any readers have a personal experience? The ones that I have heard about is that it is fine unless you are really sick or disabled, and then you get to go on a waiting list which could take months. I have heard that New York City has more high end MRI and Cat Scan Machines than all of Canada. And I have heard that the best Doctors in Canada – have left. Is what I am hearing wrong?

      • John Russo Says:

        A lot of what you heard about the Canadian Health care is true. I know some Canadians who are also live in the US. We discussed the Health care and all those problems came up. Many Canadians come here for badly needed testing that would take months to get in Canada. The system isn’t totally working.
        A recent discussion panel among doctors on CNN showed that England’s health was not doing well for patients. They discussion brought about a list of problems with our system that if addressed first we could see cost reductions and improved care in record time. Unfortunately I’m going to have to say the greed factor is part of what has thrown our system, like our country, into this mess.
        greed factor defined

      • Brad D Says:


        I’m a Canadian, I personally love our health care system. (I also happen to have diabetes) I’m not saying it’s perfect (don’t think anyone can show me one that is)

        The basic premise is simple. All people have a right to live. It doesn’t matter how much you earn, what you do with your life. You could be a millionaire or a “transient” (that’s the PC word right?). If something happens to you, you still get to see a Doctor.

        The alternative? If I lived elsewhere, I would be uninsurable, I would not be able to afford the medicine that would keep me alive and I would die. The end.

        For the most part, it’s not the “life critial” items that have long wait lists. It’s usually something we call “elective”. Things that would be good to have, but could ‘wait’ if they had too

        Anyway, given the choice between waiting 6 months to see a Doctor, or just plain dying because no Doctor will see me. I think I’d choose the 6 month wait, but that’s just me.

  6. Is the goal for every US citizen to have access to healthcare, or is it for the government to run the healthcare system? My guess is if you ask people, they will say the former than the latter.

    Keep the goal in mind and use creative thinking to achieve it, rather than saying the government can only do it, and force the round peg into the square hole with all of their might… and our tax money.


  7. disinter Says:

    A “health care reform” bill that pleases all the special interest groups and pharmaceutical companies but does nothing to improve the health of ordinary Americans.

  8. Jerome Says:

    Does anyone needed to be reminded of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? The government was the only one who could help the under-privileged get a house! …and, then we had to bail them out.

    If the government wants to help, make them set up a non-profit insurer. One that has a BALANCE SHEET! If the government runs the thing, deficits will happen. The budget will get bloated, and the service will go down (just ask any military vets, poor guys).

    A non-profit will have to be respectful of the dollar, while driving the cost down because insurers won’t have the open ended ‘pay this, or get nothing’ mentality.

    Also, take a look at how the cost of ‘optional’ operations have come down. Plastic surgery, eye surgery, all of them have came down in price. Give the insurance companies some competition (that still has to worry about a balance sheet) and I guarantee prices will come down.

    This was really long, for all of you who read it. Thanks!

  9. AnneMarie Says:

    All I can say is that this Great Nation is in immense trouble. It is common sense and SIMPLE math that you can’t spend more than you have and come out ahead. Democrats=death to this nation. The hole that the Obama administration is digging our Country into is an abyss like no other. The current government is like behemothic leech and shame on those who are standing by letting it happen. Ask yourself-do you really want the government deteremining what treatment or medicine is best for your health? I don’t and if you think government ran health care would be great, take a look at Medicare & Medicaid.

  10. Casey Says:

    If I could Digg this post I would.

  11. Dave Says:

    I’m a Canadian and our health care system is public, broken and totally irresponsible….the responsible thing to do is have it public/private….like in Sweden. If there is another way to have a private system and keep the costs down and affordable for everyone – I’m all for that too…..

  12. Dave Says:

    Also, our public health care like public education is a blackhole – OUR MONEY completely wasted….

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