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Real Health Care Reform

Obamacare supporters frequently raise a false choice: Either you support the law or you don’t care about the uninsured. To hear them tell it, if you oppose Obamacare you must not care about low-income Americans who cannot afford insurance. You must want to return to the time when younger Americans weren’t allowed on their parents’ insurance, and you want to give insurers the ability to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

We can cover low-income Americans without the regulations, red tape, new taxes and the $2.2 trillion in new spending included in Obamacare. Likewise, we can ensure affordable coverage is available to Americans with pre-existing conditions, and we can ensure younger Americans are able to stay on their parents’ insurance without this massive program. A big government healthcare program that forces millions out of their insurance is not necessary to accomplish these goals.

We should reward quality health care, encourage healthy living, and minimize waste through patient choice and health care ownership.

We need to transition the employer-based private insurance market towards one that allows for flexibility, choice, portability, and fairness. Let’s put patients in control and force insurance companies to compete for their business.

For starters, we can allow small business owners to pool together to purchase group insurance. Why shouldn’t my barber, who employs a small number of people, be able to pool with other barbers throughout the country that have similar sized payrolls to purchase health insurance for their employees?

In fact, breaking the tether of employer-based health insurance altogether and introducing portability to the market will go a long way toward fixing our health care system. Currently, health insurance is not transferable from one employer to another. But what if it was? The benefits to our economy would be greatly enhanced as too many Americans are reluctant to leave their current jobs because fewer employers are offering health care benefits. For these Americans, the benefits of professional growth and potential pay raise are outweighed by the hardship of losing one’s health care insurance. This change would eliminate that choice and move health insurance away from the employer and to the individual where it belongs.

While we’re at it, let’s allow Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines. Isn’t this what the free market is about? Empowering Americans so they can get goods and services at the best rate? You can buy your auto insurance from anywhere in the country. We should be able to do the same for health insurance. If we offer Americans more choices it will result in lower prices.

Let’s expand health savings accounts and flexible savings accounts. These options empower individuals, reward commonsense health spending and minimize waste. Again, reform should put health decisions back in the hands of the American people.

Finally, we desperately need a paradigm shift in medical liability, wasteful testing and unnecessary procedures. We need to train health care providers to deliver cost effective, necessary services, but defensive medicine needlessly drives up health care costs and malpractice insurance. If we eliminate wasteful defensive medicine, those savings will be passed on to consumers in the form of cheaper insurance.

The key to any real reform of our health care system is driving down the costs of care. Obamacare does absolutely nothing to that end. In fact, it drives up the care of cost. This is why we need free market reform.

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