Conservative Thoughts On Health Care Reform
Writing for The American Conservative, Phillip Giraldi points out what I agree is a problem with trying to convince people of the necessity for health care reform.
It seems to me that the problem with most “conservative” commentators on the Obama health care reforms and on the health care situation in general is that few of them have been victims of the current system. They have had good health insurance through their employers all their lives and think that anyone outside the system is a deadbeat or an illegal immigrant. Having experienced first hand the downside of the system I would like to make a few comments. I would note that the current insurance structure basically stinks. It denies insurance to those who actually need it unless they are employed by a company that offers that benefit (fewer and fewer do). Insurance companies exist to make money, not to make people healthy, and there is no money to be made in paying out for those who are sick.
And over at the League of Ordinary Gentlemen, E.D. Kain has some thoughts that I largely agree with about the shape that health care reform should take:
Regulations and reforms I’d like to see:
- Taxation of employee benefits: insurance should be personal and portable rather than temporary and tied to a job.
- Deregulation of insurers to allow national competition: with proper rules in place, more competition will only help consumers.
- An end to “pre-existing conditions” clauses and abuses of rescission. These smart regulations can be achieved with…
- Two-way mandates: insurers would be required to provide insurance and citizens required to buy it. In the end, if we want costs to be well distributed across the system, everyone needs to at least have catastrophic coverage, and we should not maintain a system that crowds out those who need it the most.
- Cost-assistance in the form of vouchers. Any public option should be offset by vouchers to keep it honest, especially if the public option is a national one. This also helps stave off monopolization.
- Any reform should be fiscally sound and not be a drag on the economy. Reform should work to bolster the economy, free up businesses to be more competitive, and free up employees to be more mobile and confident.
- An end to protectionism in the health care market, especially in the form of pharmaceuticals which keep costs artificially high.
- Relaxing of medical provider regulations that have led to cartelization of the industry. You don’t need an M.D. to sew stitches.
Both posts are worth reading in full. And as for the proposals on the table, I think that Wyden-Bennett is a superior plan for reform than the current House bill, though I don’t think that Wynden-Bennett is politically feasible. This is largely because the Republicans in Congress have dug in their heels so deep that they’ve made themselves not players anymore. You’ll notice that the big debate is not between Republicans and Democrats, but rather between liberal Democrats and conservative Democrats. I think that if Wyden-Bennett got some more, serious support from the GOP, it would stand a better chance. As it stands now, though, I don’t think that’s the case, so we’re stuck with the House bill which, as bad as it is, is still better than the status quo.