Conservatives get really worried when they hear the phrase “repeal and replace”. I don’t think it’s such a bad phrase, especially if I agree with what we intend to replace Obamacare with.
Here are some simple ideas that will dramatically reduce the cost of health care, while simultaneously increasing availability to everyone.
The goals are rather simple:
- Opening Up The Market. Bring buyers and sellers into a common marketplace, where prices will be forced down by natural market forces.
- Weening the people off of the government. Rather than have the government decide how to spend people’s money, let the people decide what is best for them.
- Ending unfunded entitlement programs that will bankrupt us. This is rather simple: offer cash or vouchers in exchange for people surrendering their entitlement.
- Empowering states to experiment with various ways of caring for the poor and sick in their own state, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach that helps no one.
- Driving the cost down to provide medical services.
- Ensuring the people who can afford health care do not “freeride” on other people’s money and resources.
These are some specific policy proposals that would help achieve those goals.
- Allow people to purchase health insurance across state or national lines. States cannot preclude health care packages from entering their states simply because someone lives there.
- Eliminate the tax benefit of employer-provided health insurance. Lower taxes to compensate. Now employees buy health insurance from the market, not their employer.
- Relax the regulations on foods and drugs. Maintain clear labeling standards, however, including requirements to clearly publish at the point of sale what the side effects are, and what studies should be done but have not yet been done.
- Issue lifetime vouchers to those who would receive Medicare benefits. Better yet, allow people to “cash out” of Medicare. Allow those who still want it to continue to participate, but make it in people’s interests to take the cash payout.
- Rather than regulate where medical dollars can be spent, or how much things cost, write a check to each state to be used as they see fit. If that’s providing health benefits to the poor and needy, so be it. Let each state figure out what they think is the best way to distribute those funds.
- Tort reform: make it more difficult to prove negligence (ie, requiring malice), and limit the amount of money paid out. Medicine is an inherently risky business, and we cannot ask doctors, hospitals, and medical manufacturers to shoulder the entire burden. It should be understood that despite the best efforts of the best doctors and best technology, you are still going to die one day. (Individual states will have to reform their own tort systems. The federal government cannot mandate this.)
- Hospital reform. No longer require hospitals to treat every patient who enters the hospital. No longer reimburse hospitals for so doing. If states want such a law, let them write it and pay for it with their own money.
- Lower taxes overall. By allowing people to keep more of their own money, they will have more to take care of themselves, their families, and their community’s health needs.
I don’t think the American people would disagree with all of these reforms. They would certainly agree to the goals, and I am very sure that these reforms would move us in the right direction.