GOP Can Bring REAL Health Care Reform

The Republicans have a golden opportunity to take command of the health care debate right now. The news is full of announcements from companies large and small that they will not be offering health insurance anymore. LINK

These are the first symptoms of Obamacare syndrome.

This was the transparent plan all along. Insurance companies were enticed to support the bill via the notion that we’d all be forced to buy insurance. Phase two was when it became so expensive that paying the small fine became preferable. Now they are being given exemptions.  I am still shocked that an industry based on mathematical calculations could be tricked so easily. Do Insurance executives even read the Wall Street Journal?

This is the perfect time to launch legislation designed to bring portability to the health insurance market. One of the key problems in America is that our health insurance is tied to our jobs. This began decades ago as a way to reward employees while avoiding draconian tax policies.It also began the process of converting routine medical maintenance into insurance issues, thus blurring the lines between health care and health insurance.

Job based insurance leads to situations where the status of our health insurance is as uncertain as our employment-no small thing when the unemployment rate hovers near an official 10%, and certainly higher by other more accurate measures.

We need to enter into longer-term insurance contracts. The longer you’ve been in your plan the less likely it is that you will have to fight over a “pre-existing condition.” I am all for enforcing contracts when already-insured people get sick. Insurance companies cannot be allowed to drop you because you make a claim-but when the argument shifts to forcing insurance companies to accept people that are already sick then we need to stop and restore sanity.

There are lots of inaccurate analogies but the “buying car insurance after the accident” comparison is accurate. When Republicans state that the one facet of Obamacare they want to keep is the forcing of insurance companies to accept already sick people it becomes clear that they too do not understand very basic issues of economics. This doesn’t help anyone. In fact it makes it harder to fix something that really does need to be fixed.

If we can bring about portability by making it easier for individuals to buy their own insurance-and make repairs to the tax code at the same time-we win. If we can bring about some tort reform and open up competition across state lines we can actually start to bring prices down. If we can expand the use of Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s), we can reduce the bureaucracy that increases costs and wastes time. These alternatives have already been tested and proven to work by companies such as Whole Foods.

This is the way to switch from the “party of no” to the party with reality-based solutions to problems created through years of market distortions brought about by misguided government interference.

Pat Duggan

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Published in: on October 27, 2010 at 8:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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