Sure, you could go with the car insurance idea to decide how much insurance you could get for the money, but the idea of using the difference between the premium on your major medical policy and your "cover it all including prescriptions" plan to put into a health savings account with the ability to roll it over and even get interest on the money would help the elderly pay for their long term care since they've been paying into this for years and haven't been counting on the government to manage it, they've been managing it, and if they want to go to the Bahamas to retire to a seaside village "nursing home" and they can afford it, so be it.
I'm not political enough to know who's for this, if either of the candidates is, but I'm pretty sure it's not Barack Obama.
As a physician, I should become more like our colleagues, the veterinarians, and know how much things cost and be able to give people a reasonable idea of how much things will cost and let them help in the choice. If there's a cost difference for the same procedure at one place vs. another, they should know. We would have a big element of change on our hands, both physicians and patients. For this generation, which has grown up saying "sure, go ahead, I've got insurance" to find out how much something is going to cost and decide if they should get it or do it, is going to be uncomfortable at first. It's going to affect malpractice because if I recommend something and the patient doesn't want to do it (like vaccines now!) then has a bad outcome as a result of choosing not to do it, I'm liable under the current system, even if I was adamant about them needing to do it or get it or whatever, and documented my advice. Maybe videotaping of consent will help this. You get taped turning down my advice. Now of course if my advice results in a bad outcome...I'm still liable and should be. And many things aren't black and white, and the definition of a bad outcome will have to be ironed out. Oh, so many things, but our consumer economy can get through it, we just have to quit being ostriches as far as how much things cost (physicians and patients) and be willing to present and accept options.
Unlike our friends the veterinarians, though, one of our options (at least currently) isn't going to be "or for this amount, we can put X to sleep". I'm a little afraid that time may not be far in the future, especially if humanist atheists are running the system. But I digress...