I had lunch today with another health care consulting friend of mine, George Chapman. I also do work on his website, and he participated in my interview series.

We started talking about health care coverage for the uninsured, and I was mentioning my idea of a health care plan to him. He said it wouldn’t work because people would still flood the system with a lot of acute care stuff because they wouldn’t go for preventative medicine, which I’d said, but he came back with a different idea that makes a lot of sense on the surface.

He took the number of 40 million people without health insurance. He said if the government wanted to, they could contract with Blue Cross, tell them they’ll pay $500 per person for all those people who don’t have health insurance, the cost would be $200 billion and everyone would have health care.

Well, I just stopped and looked at him. I pulled out the calculator and did the numbers; absolutely correct. I said it sounded like a valid plan, and asked why he didn’t think anyone else had thought of it. He said because it’s too simple, and that people who aren’t in health care always have to complicate everything for whatever their reasons are.

I really couldn’t dispute that one, because I’ve always believed the same thing. For instance, one of the problems with getting good leadership in hospitals is that most of the top positions require someone with specialized licenses, and most of those people never thought about being any sort of leader or manager when they were going for those licenses. Even the people at the top, it turns out, don’t all have to have a master’s degree in health care administration; at least not everywhere. A master’s degree is good enough. And, as I’ve often said but I’m not sure I’ve written it here, many folks who end up in top level positions in health care never had to work their way up. They get to bypass a lot of stuff, and then get these upper positions without realizing what impacts what in a hospital. Sure, for those who went to get the HCA degree, they learned a lot of theory, but theory doesn’t always equate to practical application.

Anyway, what sounds wrong about health care coverage for every American that doesn’t have it at a price tag of $200 billion, when compared to the $800 billion to $1 trillion that the administration is talking now? Someone help me out; does anything sound bad about George’s plan by comparison with the government’s plan, which, of course, we still know nothing about yet?