Well, I also know that you won't take an airplane, so I'm betting I can get away before you get here!
I'll get you yet
Also, about the merging of methods suggestion:
What a lot of people don't seem to realize is that American health care has not been operating on a market system since 1948 -- 8 years after the employer tax credit was offered for health insurance, creating an imbalance in private and employer (now government backed) insurance. Before 1940 nearly everyone had some form of private insurance in the US, and health care experts (like Dr. Gratzer, Dr. Brian Day (both of these men Canadians)), Milton Friedman and many others) are suggesting we gradually move back to
a market system that works something like the FEHBP we have today (Federal Employee Health Benefits Program). The FEHBP works completely different from all our other health care schemes in this country, and it's not surprising that it's also the best system we have. The FEHBP encourages competition from more than 24 insurance companies by allowing members to choose the plan that most suits their wants and needs and at a price they can afford. As a result, each insurance company tries to offer the best range of coverage at the best price to beat out the others -- but the proof is in the numbers. Adjusted for inflation, the FEHBP costs raise at something like 2.7% of the GDP per year vs Medicare at 6.7% and Medicaid (which is set to start doubling in 2020) at around 5%. I read some of these reports awhile ago so I apologize if some of these numbers are not exact, but I can tell you that the FEHBP spends consistently less money per year and offers better service and options than public employer insurance -- and it has been proven sustainable time and again, unlike our public system (or NHS).
Health care in the United States is the only
public system in the country that does not operate through markets and competition, and it shows: it shows in the maximum claims by doctors on insurance, in the premiums, and in it's general inefficiency to offer something for everyone. In contrast, having the medical and pharmaceutical industries compete for your dollar cuts them down to size and gives you more options, and that's what people really want: options, choices. Health Savings Accounts are a great step towards this and one of the few things the Bush Administration did right; unfortunately, they still regulate the hell out of private insurance making it more costly than it should be (and when I say regulate I mean regulate vs. employer-sponsored insurance). If HSA's and other private insurance offered the same deductibles and tax credits and enjoyed less regulation (for instance, if you could invest more than $9000 USD into an HSA per year) there would be many more people switching to these and many more plans available. Consider than an HSA with a monthly payment of around 40 dollars could completely cover a family on welfare for catastrophic events (broken bones, pregnancy, etc) while requiring them to make a reasonable co-pay for generic doctor visits and medications. The great thing about HSA's are that anyone can apply for one, and depending on where you live you have a range of choices for plans, can pick your doctors and specialists based on cost, personal research, and need, and so on.
Definitely read The Cure
. You can get it for 7 bucks off Amazon, last I looked.