MOUNT PLEASANT, IA. -- Is there a problem with health-care in America today? Of course there is! Costs continue to escalate faster than other living costs, not everyone who wants insurance coverage can get it or get it at a price they can afford, and insurance plans – both private and public – often deny coverage when people need it the most. People’s frustrations over this situation has spawned an epic battle for the future of America between those who believe in coercion, control, and central planning, and those who favor choice, competition, and consumer-driven programs.
“The causes of these problems are prior government interventions in the market and the lack of a real free-market in health care and health insurance. The solution is to get government to back off and allow private-sector competition to work, not to control the process even more -- to address the underlying cause, rather than just treating the symptoms,” said Dr. Don Racheter, President of Public Interest Institute in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.
First and foremost to improve health insurance for all Americans, change the IRS rules and court decisions which treat health-insurance provided by an employer as tax free, while plans we own as individuals are taxed. Encourage people to buy and own their own policies tax free, and keep them as they move from place to place, job to job, so they never face exclusion for "pre-existing conditions." This portability is at the heart of consumer-driven programs.
Health Savings Accounts should be encouraged by the government instead of the current policies of discouraging their expansion to everyone. Get rid of the caps and fixed limits – let the market deliver what people want and can afford, not what some bureaucrats think are “best” for others while being covered themselves by a gold-plated plan paid for by the taxpayers.
Governments at the national and state levels need to get rid of the outdated rules which prevent a person from buying or keeping an insurance policy in any of the fifty states, regardless of where they live in order for portability to work, and as an added prod to increase competition which will drive down the price of health insurance. Also, any true reform should require transparency, so people can more easily shop around. The "Doc in a Box" places and Instant-Care clinics which are starting to spring up in shopping malls and grocery stores post a list of their prices on a chart by the door. Every health-care provider should do the same.
Will this actually work? Well, the two areas of health care that currently are improving in quality while reducing costs are the two areas where third-party payers (either government or insurance companies) don’t get involved: laser eye surgery and cosmetic surgery. Let’s do more of what works, and less of what doesn’t if we want true reform.
Public Interest Institute’s INSTITUTE BRIEF, “Conservative Health-Care Reform Proposal: Part One,” is available at www.limitedgovernment.org.
For an interview or more information on this issue, contact Dr. Don Racheter, President of Public Interest Institute.