Friday, May 25, 2007
How to Re-Populate Detroit: Reforming Health Care by Akindele Akinyemi
The Re-population of Detroit will come from those individuals who feel that we need to reform health care in our community. African Americans ought to be empowered consumers who shop for the best insurance plan and health care providers the way they shop for the best buys in products and services and would not be shielded from the true costs as they are today. Most people instinctively want the cheapest product or service that will suffice. If they have to pay a minimum out of pocket, particularly for routine care, they will be unlikely to abuse the system.
Big government in Michigan and especially in Detroit should be out of the health care business. We pay out of pocket for auto maintenance and use insurance only for major accidents. Why shouldn't health care be the same?
Health care reforms must include maintaining the right of consumers to choose alternative and holistic medicine and the right to buy and use dietary supplements.
Some other uses that Detroiters can use to reform health care to help re-populate Detroit:
1) Electronic medical records. This is a system where combined with preventive care, wellness, and a focusing of the system on individuals, so they are participating in their own care -will both save lives and save money. Electronic medical records and the improved care that come from best practices, prevention, accuracy and expert systems does liberate resources for other health demands.
2) Detroiters need to move to a system of long-term-care insurance to help pay for long-term care. We also need to develop better systems of independent living and expert systems to help people stay at home.
3) I am for 100 percent insurance coverage. Medicaid should be turned into a system of vouchers for the healthy poor, combined with tax credits for the working poor and small businesses. The tax-deduction system would then continue for everyone else.
4) Drugs should be purchased through a model, similar to airline tickets and hotel rooms. Detroiters should know the range of choices, from over-the-counter to generic to branded pharmaceuticals. They should have an "after-pay," rather than a co-pay. The company should pay for the least-expensive prescription drug that is medically appropriate; the patient should retain the right to buy any of the more expensive drugs if they want to pay for the difference with their own money. This kind of drug-purchasing system, we believe, would take 40 percent out of the cost of prescription drugs.
Detroit can grow again if we begin to implement new revolutionary ways of growth into our city.