From ‘re­peal and re­place’ to ‘re­place and re­peal’

Chang­ing the se­quence does not al­ter the prom­ise of bet­ter health care

The Washington Times Daily - - COMMENTARY - By Fos­ter Friess

If you de­cided your car is in­ad­e­quate, you would not sell it be­fore buy­ing a re­place­ment. Let’s take same ap­proach with health care. We should lis­ten to Newt Gin­grich when he ad­vises tak­ing the health care dis­cus­sion to the Amer­i­can peo­ple.

For ex­am­ple, New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie sold pen­sion re­form at 80 town halls. We as Amer­i­cans want to par­tic­i­pate in the process and not sub­mit to top-down edicts from Wash­ing­ton.

Let’s ask Pres­i­dent Trump to cham­pion our cause. As pa­tients, we do not have a seat at the ta­ble with the in­sur­ance, hos­pi­tal and drug com­pa­nies.

Those of us who have good jobs and salaries want first and fore­most to make sure the sick and poor are cared for. Mak­ing health care and pre­mi­ums af­ford­able for all must fol­low al­most si­mul­ta­ne­ously.

Lower in­come fel­low cit­i­zens would ben­e­fit if Mr. Trump wrote a check from the fed­eral Trea­sury to each of the 50 gov­er­nors. Ken­tucky’s Gov. Matt Bevin said he if had con­trol he could pro­vide much bet­ter care to Med­i­caid pa­tients in his state with the $7,000 per re­cip­i­ent cur­rently be­ing spent. The folks in Wash­ing­ton dub this “block grant­ing Med­i­caid to the states.”

Thou­sands of de­liv­ery points for fed­er­ally qual­i­fied health care cen­ters al­ready ex­ist. Sim­ply ex­pand the rule un­der which emer­gency rooms op­er­ate…. no one gets turned away. Con­tinue the pol­icy that each vis­i­tor pays ac­cord­ing to his abil­ity. Se­condly give emer­gency rooms the op­tion of re­fer­ring a kid with a sore throat to these clin­ics.

Re­ally sick and in­jured peo­ple — suf­fer­ing from can­cer, de­pen­dent on dial­y­sis, banged up in mo­tor­cy­cle ac­ci­dents — pay a pre­mium ac­cord­ing to their fi­nan­cial abil­ity. There is no rea­son for av­er­age earn­ers to sub­si­dize mil­lion­aires. These high-cost pa­tients can and should be al­lowed to be in­sured through an as­so­ci­a­tion of their choice where costs can be spread — or­ga­ni­za­tions such as the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion, the

Farm Bu­reau, col­lege alumni groups. The “high risk pools” that ex­ist in most states should be fi­nan­cially shored up and re­named “safety nets” so all of us un­der­stand their pur­pose. No Amer­i­can should ever be driven to bank­ruptcy due to medical bills.

We, as con­stituents, have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to alert our con­gress­men and sen­a­tors by send­ing them ar­ti­cles such as this one so they know the health care poli­cies we want.

Ob­jec­tives in­clude:

• We want the right to con­tract with in­sur­ance com­pa­nies, per­haps through our cho­sen as­so­ci­a­tion, for cov­er­age we want and not what fed­eral or state gov­ern­ments tell us we must pur­chase. Maybe you don’t need ma­ter­nity ben­e­fits, fer­til­ity treat­ments, hair trans­plants or sex changes?

• We should not be forced to pay for cov­er­ages for which other peo­ple can con­tract on their own, nor pay for other peo­ple’s free stuff.

• State in­sur­ance com­mis­sion­ers should be re­spon­si­ble for fi­nan­cial vi­a­bil­ity and en­force­ment of con­tracts and not dic­tate our cov­er­age.

Help all your friends who cher­ish private mar­kets and pa­tient driven health­care to ar­tic­u­late this point as “giv­ing” Amer­i­cans choice rather than “re­peal­ing” Oba­macare’s “guar­an­teed es­sen­tial health ben­e­fits.” It will have the same impact, but con­veys in­tent with a more pos­i­tive ap­proach.

• We want equal tax de­ductibil­ity re­gard­less if we buy in­sur­ance as a mem­ber of an as­so­ci­a­tion or re­ceive from our boss.

• We want the op­tion to own our own pol­icy so it trav­els with us from job to job like our auto and home­own­ers in­sur­ance. Our D.C. friends call it “porta­bil­ity.”

Cur­rent Oba­macare rules pro­hibit high de­ductible poli­cies if we are over 30 years old. Why? If we are al­lowed to pay for the small stuff and choose at what level in­sur­ance kicks in, pre­mi­ums would plum­met as un­der­ly­ing health care costs are pres­sured down. Imag­ine what our car in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums would be if we were re­im­bursed for tire re­place­ment, tune-ups and gas re­fills.

That’s what we have done to “health in­sur­ance” which is re­ally “pre­paid health care” Now, when our doc­tor sug­gests a MRI, we ask where do we go and when? Rarely do we ask how much it costs. Price trans­parency would oc­cur as we ask. Our sys­tem now is al­most like giv­ing the gro­cery store owner a check at the be­gin­ning of the month then shop­ping for free.

If we han­dle the poor and sick as above we in­crease ci­vil­ity in our cul­ture. The need for “re­fund­able tax cred­its” goes away so the Free­dom Cau­cus mem­bers can kiss and make up with their de­trac­tors. “Ad­vance­able and re­fund­able tax cred­its” are ben­e­fits one gets from the gov­ern­ment in or­der to ob­tain health in­sur­ance. It’s an­other name for the sub­si­dies that ex­ist un­der Oba­macare and why the Free­dom Cau­cus balked. Democrats and Repub­li­cans come to­gether who share ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the val­ues on which our na­tion was based, ar­tic­u­lated so well by Je­sus. “We are our brother’s keeper” “When we carry one an­other’s bur­den, we ful­fill the law of Christ.”

Again, it is es­sen­tial to make all the leg­is­la­tors you know aware of these fun­da­men­tal con­cerns. So do­ing will drive us to­ward a so­lu­tion and to­ward in­creased ci­vil­ity.

Fos­ter Friess founded the money man­age­ment firm Friess As­so­ciates, which grew to $15 bil­lion in as­sets un­der man­age­ment. He now pro­motes “re­turn to ci­vil­ity” ef­forts.

IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY GREG GROESCH

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