Czar,The Czar agrees. Frankly, much of the mess were in stems from employer-purchased plans. Indeed, most businesses would probably prefer to ditch health insurance, give the employees a boost in pay, and free up the HR departments to tackle more interesting topics.
Great idea on health insurance simplification. I buy my own health insurance (self-employed, wife covered at her work, kids grown and on their own), so that approach has much appeal to me. Better yet, put some sliders on the website so I can see how my premiums would change if I wanted 0% reimbursement for everything under $500, etc. Whatever I end up choosing goes into the calculations for my invoice, no muss no fuss.
The problem will be that I am one of the few who choose their own health insurance, so I can hire or fire who I want because I'm paying the premiums. Those who are insured under employer-paid coverage are not the customers of the insurers -- their employers are the customers. Worse yet for union members, I'd guess. So your system would never happen -- any incentive to do it that way is necessarily watered down and replaced with whatever insurers use to secure their employer/union customers' business.
We simply must return the health insurance buying decision to the customer; the way it is now is a leftover from post-war wage controls and makes no sense today. There is no reason why we shouldn't be besieged by TV health insurance ads like we are with car insurance ads -- we should have talking geckos, President David Palmer, Creepy Flo, Insurance Agents responding to singing customers by appearing out of thin air, and Oscar de la Hoya peddling health insurance plans to all of us.
And it is a certainty that a government mandate to do it your way would fail. Take a good idea, hand it to Chuck Schumer and the boys, and it will be turned into some monstrosity that makes Harry Reid wealthier and works only to get Sandra Fluke her free birth control.
And, we regret to agree, your last point is a doozy. Thanks for writing in! Please do it again: we all love the many letters we receive.