Thursday, October 15, 2009

Should the government make sure that every American has affordable health insurance?

"In short, the status quo is broken, and pouring money into a broken system only perpetuates its inefficiencies. Doing nothing would only put our entire health care system at risk. Without meaningful reform, one fifth of our economy is projected to be tied up in our health care system in 10 years; millions more Americans are expected to go without insurance; and outside of what they are receiving for health care, workers are projected to see their take-home pay actually fall over time."
-President Barack Obama

"A government-run plan would set artificially-low prices that private insurers would have no way of competing with. Rates for private health plans would either skyrocket, leaving companies and individuals unable to afford it; or private health plans would just be forced out of business. Either way, the government-run plan would take over the health care system, radically changing the way Americans choose and receive their care, from routine check-ups to lifesaving surgeries."
-Senator Mitch McConnell

"America's Affordable Health Choices Act will reform the individual health insurance market. It will create a transparent insurance marketplace that protects consumers and provides them with choices among quality, affordable health care plans. Insurers will no longer be able to exclude individuals from coverage based on pre-existing conditions and will be prevented from selectively refusing to renew coverage or charging different premiums based on an individual's need for health care."
-Representative Henry Waxman

Option 1
The private health insurance industry has had years to demonstrate that it can cover all Americans, and it has failed to do so. As the number of uninsured and underinsured Americans has increased the number of health insurance providers has decreased. A public plan that allows Americans to choose any doctor they like and have the option to retain private health insurance coverage would be the best ways to lower costs, provide more choices, assures quality as well as force insurance companies to compete. Private health insurers need competition from a government-run plan.

Option 2
Health insurance purchasing cooperatives will decrease the costs of health insurance while at the same time increasing consumer choice. Cooperatives can negotiate favorable prices and persuade health plans to cater to their participants needs by allowing members to change plans if they are unhappy with their plan. Cooperatives do not require major changes to the healthcare industry or government involvement and are inexpensive for the government to start up.

Option 3
Rather than expanding the role of government in the health-care market, Congress should implement legislation that focuses on the patient-doctor relationship and empowers the patient and doctor to make effective and economical choices. Americans would purchase their own insurance policies with a low-premium, high-deductible alternative to traditional insurance that includes a tax-advantaged savings account. We need a private health insurance market that can deliver choices of high quality products to all types of people, not a one size fits all federally determined solution.

Option 4
The high quality of medical treatment and medications in the U.S. are due to market driven incentives. The elimination of incentives through the implementation of a government provided health insurance would decrease the overall quality of health care. The majority of Americans are insured and content with the care they are receiving and some of those uninsured have chosen not to carry health insurance.

What do you think health care reform should look like?

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