Let market call insurance’s future
After just seven years it appears we have a health-care crisis because the federal government tried to manipulate and take over the health- insurance industry — and failed. Now that the Republicans are at the helm of government, it is clear they squandered the past seven years by not having an alternative plan.
The great lesson from this is, we should never allow the government to become involved in the first place. Here is what should happen: Medicare and Medicaid should be block-granted to the states. A bill should be passed forcing insurance companies to sell across state lines. Associations with memberships should be allowed to provide group insurance policies to their members like employers do. Then, while reviewing tax law, states should provide that folks can save in health-savings accounts tax-free money, which can be used to off-set premium costs and pay for deductibles, prescriptions and office visits. Implementing these provisions should spur competition among insurance companies, which will in turn reduce costs and provide policies more in line with people’s needs.
Like most group plans, these will resolve the provision of persisting conditions. The key here is that individual choice and freedom is preserved and capitalism is allowed to work. Then they need to address the other side of the coin: the reduction in costs of health services, which can be achieved by requiring hospitals, doctors, clinics and pharmacies to post the normal costs of the services they provide. In this way consumers will be able to make informed choices and take additional control of their health-care expenses. This will also create competition and bring down costs.
STEPHEN BALL Lancaster, Ohio