I believe health care and insurance "reform" is a lot more simple than a 46 minute Presidential address before a Joint Session of Congress, in the 29th speech on the subject in the past 6 1/2 months.
As an "Average Joe" (but not a plumber) I would like to present my simple outline for what I believe should be done in a logical reform of our health care and insurance system.
We should not require all Americans to purchase insurance. This is a free nation of free people, and any absolute such as this "requirement" would be a huge infringement upon individual liberties. Having said that - those who choose not to cover themselves would be held responsible for any and all expenses incurred due to medical need, emergency or otherwise, therefore creating a fair implication of personal responsibility.
We should all be more than willing to come together as a nation and reform health insurance. I am even open to the idea of offering a program subsidized by the government through tax deductions or vouchers, but those deductions or vouchers would be used to pay for a policy held with a private insurance company, thus avoiding any government "panels" or "death squads."
There would, of course, need to be stringent eligibility requirements placed on such a program. However, there is no reason any American should be without the opportunity to receive quality medical treatment at a fair price, but for the government to become involved there must be some need beyond personal budget mismanagement or irresponsibility. Loss of work through no fault of the individual, as an example, is one reason a voucher system would be a good idea.
Additionally, this government involvement should be considered possible ONLY after the government proves that it can fiscally manage the health insurance it already offers; Medicare and Medicaid, and The Veterans Administration. Until then, and while working out the poor management within the government systems, we should begin reform with deregulation, creating the allowance for interstate sale of medical insurance.
We should institute solid tort reform, including the ability for judges to impose court and legal fees on nuisance cases. Furthermore, government can impose stringent regulatory statutes over blatant profiteering.
Finally, we should absolutely break down the insurance companies' current stance on preexisting conditions. A person should not be denied care because of an illness over which they have no control, and the government subsidy system should not become a backstop for these situations. Corporations are indeed entitled to a profit, but there is an interest of good ethical and humane behavior to be considered.
In closing, any reform being considered does not have to happen in one swift step. There is a responsible way to reform the system we have. Each step taken in the process should be analyzed carefully. This would help to ensure that each next step is a growth upon the previous changes.
As always, comments are welcome.