Health Care Reform

HHS Secretary Backs Public Health Insurance

There are a few important points to take from this Wall Street Journal article.

1.  Sebelius says,  “In many areas in the country, the private market is monopolized by one carrier.” This is misleading.  The McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945 allows state governments to regulate the business of health insurance.   While “monopolies” may exist in many markets, it is not because of lack of competition; in actuality, the over regulation of an industry prevents small start-up firms from competing.  Instead of implementing a massive new government program which will cost billions, if not trillions of dollars, law-makers could rescind the McCarran-Ferguson act and open up markets to free-market competition.

2.  Ms. Sebelius says  “A new public health insurance plan would benefit consumers by …holding down costs.” Historically, public health insurance has failed to curb cost growth. Both federal health plans–Medicaid and Medicare–experience cost growth similar to private sector cost growth.

Over 16% of the U.S. GDP is spent on health care, double the amount of other industrialized countries.  Implementing a new government health insurance program does not seem like a viable method of providing health care.  A new insurance program would likely result in healthy individuals–the majority of the population–paying for the less healthy.  Additionally, if an individual is not responsible for their own health care costs–i.e. they get free health care on tax-payer’s dollars–there is little incentive to use services wisely.

Fooling citizens into believing the only avenue for health care reform is through the federal government is treacherous policy.  There are many free-market options which promise to lower costs; Health Savings Accounts, HMOs, and Regulatory reform are a few such solutions.  Additionally, America needs to rethink the way it provides care.  Reform focused on preventive medicine and public health campaigns could reduce unnecessary surgeries.

The problems are many, but the best course is to engage in a robust discussion about all the options.  Misleading the public into expanding the federal bureaucracy unnecessarily is dishonest.

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2 Responses to Health Care Reform

  1. Cathy says:

    A topic top most on my mind. Ever try to pick health care as an informed, investigative shopper? Can’t do it cause the health care industry is still shrouded in secrecy and mystery–the heavy veil is hung across the passageway by the insurance industry and doctors who don’t want to be scrutinized. Let’s advocate for more consumer information for better comparative shopping on doctors, hospitals, clinics, procedures ….

  2. Elizabeth says:

    BY 9:30 AM this morning, I had already been to two doctor’s appointments with two different doctors and had to schedule another with a third. I also had a blistering headache from trying to handle insurance issues. I have military sponsored health insurance ( which may or may not be more confusing than federal government insurance, I’m not sure) that requires me to get referrals from a primary care provider for every medical procedure I undergo. It’s tiresome and extremely limiting. I essentially lose the ability to choose specialty providers. I’m grateful to have coverage, but shopping around is a luxury I would love. If dealing with my health insurance is this frustrating, I can’t imagine what health care would be like under a government bureaucracy attempting to serve 300 million other people.

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