It’s getting progressively harder to have a civil discussion about healthcare reform in the United States unless you’re speaking exclusively to people who agree with your position. Nevertheless, the inherent tension in debating healthcare hasn’t prevented self-appointed authorities from all over the political spectrum from attempting to dominate the popular narrative. The brinkmanship of both major parties and hyperbolic tendencies of many major media outlets have resulted in a great deal of measurable data buried in an ocean of noise. Meanwhile, character attacks and scandals are becoming increasingly common. However, there are those who prefer to discuss policy rather than politics when it comes to healthcare reform in America, and some of them are attempting to make a noticeable dent in the conversation.
Charles Laverty is the Chief Executive Officer of Advanced Bifurcation Systems and the former President and CEO of Imagyn Medical Technologies and the CEO of Infusion Care. Laverty has more than 25 years of management and marketing experience in the healthcare field. Other notable names on his lengthy CV include Curaflex Health Services and Foster Medical Corporation. Laverty’s experience as a private businessman in the healthcare world has given him strong opinions about changing the way Americans access healthcare. He wants to reduce partisan politics, and focus on the costs of providing care to various portions of the population.
One of Laverty’s targets is the Affordable Care Act, a piece of legislation that has long been considered controversial by people on both sides of the aisle. Among Republicans, there has always been fear that the ACA (or “Obamacare”) was about moving the country towards a system of socialized medicine. A considerable number of conservatives have been fighting the bill since it came out, and many are thrilled that the current Republican government is endeavoring to replace it—even some for whom the ACA provides insurance. However, it is worth noting that there are also those on the left who oppose the Affordable Care Act. Many such people see it as a well-intentioned but ultimately clumsy measure that was never executed appropriately and consider it a weak attempt at broader coverage for Americans.
Finding Common Ground
Laverty’s view seems to acknowledge certain tenants of both arguments. He presently opposes government involvement in healthcare, stating that today’s politicians lack “the freedom to exercise the political will” necessary for moving to a public system. Besides, Laverty is adamant that such a system would not work in the US. He describes the idea of a single-payer system in the United States as “ruinously unworkable,” despite admitting that care is “readily available” in many other diverse and populous single-payer nations such as Canada and Australia. According to Laverty though, the “demographics and population size” of the United States would “create a new entitlement that we could never support” if we implemented a single-payer system. Simply put, Laverty considers healthcare a commodity instead of a fundamental human right and wants people to focus more on the costs of providing it than their potential need for treatment.
Taking the Pressure from Businesses
One of Laverty’s primary concerns is lowering premiums for Americans who saw their costs go up under the Affordable Care Act. To do this, he suggests making several changes that would be considerably easier to implement than moving towards a single-payer model. One change that Laverty wants to make involves the rules for buying insurance. As it currently stands, some Americans are limited in their choice of insurance providers—especially small businesses in the states who are given few options by the marketplace. In some of these cases, businesses find themselves having to pay higher premiums than they are comfortable with so that their employees can receive coverage. The increased costs of these premiums may go towards easing expenses for other demographics such as retirees, independent contractors, and people living below the poverty line.
Personal Responsibility and Priority Care
Laverty opposes the idea that businesses and the middle class should pay more to help cover the healthcare costs of more vulnerable populations. He suggests that if the law allowed people to purchase insurance across state lines, it could provide a way to lower premiums for those who currently pay more. While the logic behind this theory is valid, some have questioned its soundness. Moreover, the question remains of how to provide care for poorer or less able demographics if businesses and the middle class do not subsidize them with their premiums.
Laverty suggests that the brunt of responsibility lies on individuals themselves. He believes that the system should move away from subsidizing “unhealthy people,” especially “at the expense of the healthy.” If people make what he refers to as “self-destructive personal choices,” Laverty believes there should be less money available to subsidize their healthcare costs. Specifically, he would like to reduce support for people who are prone to “smoking, obesity, and sedentary lifestyles.”
Furthermore, Laverty believes that too much money is being spent to provide support for “people who won’t live”—like patients with terminal diseases. If there is no hope of “meaningfully extending life or curing the person,” he questions the value of treating them. “While transplant patients wait for organs, octogenarians with terminal diseases get unlimited, at that point broadly subsidized, healthcare resources,” Laverty says. “There are models in other countries we could look at that allow us to value human life most by respecting it when we can’t extend it.”
Laverty believes that the potential economic consequences of rising healthcare costs will be more dangerous to Americans than reducing coverage for certain demographics. He calls the changes he is calling for “painful” and predicts that they will be “unpopular” with many, but maintains that they are necessary if Americans are going to face what he calls “the truths about healthcare.” Still, Laverty says he is most concerned with “subsidizing a healthcare system that will not be able to provide for us when it is needed.”