The Right is floundering in the healthcare “reform” debate. It’s complicated, but it need not be. How do you make the water cooler case? Tell ‘em “before we let them do anything stupid, we could fix healthcare in 5 easy steps”:
- Let people buy health insurance across state lines. I live in North Carolina. If folks in my state could buy insurance in Idaho, we would cut our premium almost in half. New Yorkers could reduce premiums by about 2/3 buying in other states. Everyone would have access to the lowest rates in the country. Competition would bring costs way down. Why won’t the government let us?
- Give poor and working class people tax credits (vouchers) to buy insurance. It’s not hard. Help the poor. Keep the competitive market, too. But for goodness sake, don’t make us pay for rich people’s healthcare and bankrupt private insurance all at once. (A high-risk pool can help people with pre-existing conditions, btw.)
- De-couple health insurance from our jobs. (Change the tax code.) This coupling is an artifact of WWII wage controls. When your company chooses your insurance, it limits competition and choices. It's very costly, but you don't see the cost. And under the current system, you lose your insurance if you lose your job. Wealthier, employed people get subsidized to get insurance. Unemployed or independent contractors get nothing.
- Give greater access to health savings accounts for use on the small stuff. They can save money for old age, or purchase out-of-pocket healthcare. They’ll be more careful with their spending. We’ll eliminate much of the “split-the-check” effect where people over-consume and cost-shift. (For example: Prilosec OTC costs $15 at the store. Prescription Nexium costs a $15 copay (but $150 in reality). These drugs are almost identical. Yet people choose Nexium without a second thought. Why shouldn’t they? Still, $135 unseen gets dinged to the risk pool, so premiums go up.)
- Stop driving up costs with regs and mandates. In some states, the government forces insurance companies to charge everyone the same rate whether they’re young and healthy, or sick and old. This is terribly costly. High rates mean young people go uninsured. Also, forcing companies to insure people after the fact is not “insurance” and drive up costs even more. Again, carrots for consumers to get insurance are far better than sticks against insurance companies and employers. Of course, consumers pay for those sticks, anyway.
On No 5, the Left has consciously been using these kinds of regulations to drive up costs. This limits people’s “access.” They don’t care. They want medical socialism no matter the cost. The plan is, and always has been, either to hasten the destruction of the insurance market and/or to drive up costs so we’ll cry uncle. Once we cry uncle, they’ll usher in the age of bureaucare. Functionaries will make our healthcare decisions. Bureaucrats will decide if and when you need a drug. You will wait in medical bread-lines for care. Innovation will dry up. Just go to a Cleveland hospital. Find Canadians getting MRIs because Canada has made them wait.