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Health Care – My Take

ObamaCare is an abomination.  It epitomizes everything that is wrong with the Democratic party and the Washington culture. When the drafters had to choose between listening to the people (who are speaking clearly) and paying off a donor, they chose the donor without hesitation.  I hope that President Obama, Senator Reid and Representative Pelosi got the message from yesterday’s special election for the Massachusetts Senate seat made empty by the death of Ted Kennedy.  The decisive victory of Republican Scott Brown in the overwhelmingly Democrat Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a defining statement against ObamaCare.

Let’s not pretend that all is fine with our health care system, it’s not.  Costs are out of control, too many ethically challenged people get to make decisions, and far too many sick people are hung out to dry.  But ObamaCare won’t fix these problems, it will make them worse.

As a start, we need to implement the following reforms.  They will solve many of the access issues, and should slow down the cost juggernaut.

  • Make health insurance premiums a tax deduction for individuals just as they are for businesses.  This will go a long way toward making health insurance more affordable for everyone, and overnight will increase the number of people covered.  It will increase competition among the insurance companies and reward those which cover individuals.  At the same time, it will not remove the abilities of unions to negotiate for their employees or of companies to offer good health care as a fringe benefit.
  • Allow a health plan licensed for sale in one state to be sold in all states.  This will also increase competition, and will reduce the local and state “gerrymandering” around health insurance coverage.
  • Implement tort reform, including “loser pays”, limits on pain and suffering awards, limits on contingency fees, and possibly limits on punitive damages.  This will reduce legal costs, and will also reduce costs from “defensive” medicine.
  • Regulate underwriting to prevent companies from redlining sick people out of coverage.  This is hard, and will take quite a bit of tinkering to get right, but is necessary.
These alternatives include:
?     Equalizing the tax treatment of individuals and companies, so individuals are not penalized for buying insurance on their own and can decide the policies best for themselves;
?     Allowing expanded health savings accounts, to increase individual choice in health care options, including accounting for costs;
?     Introducing real competition by saying that a health plan licensed for sale in one state may be sold in all;
?     Repeal of laws that discourage doctors from becoming health care entrepreneurs, freeing them to seek more efficient ways to provide more effective care;
?     Reforming the medical liability system, driving the cost of predatory lawsuits from the system;
?     Ending state certificate-of-need rules for hospital construction and other rules that restrict competition within the health care sector.

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Continuing the Discussion

  1. Why I Oppose Single Payer Health Insurance – Tom's Tribulations linked to this post on February 17, 2010

    […] opinion on what we should do around healthcare can be found here.  But that doesn’t describe WHY I find the Democrat reform proposals, ObamaCare, and single […]

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