Health care reform is one of the great challenges of our time. Health costs threaten the fiscal well-being of families, competitiveness of American businesses, and the financial solvency of the US federal government. It is time to put American families first.
Regardless of which version of health care reform prevails in the legislative process, ACA, AHCA, BCRA, or some combination of the three, further reforms are necessary to lower costs. American families need lower cost for health services, not just lower cost for insurance premiums. No health care reform bill offers cost reduction measures. Actions are necessary to cause health care to cost less. If health services cost less, health insurance will also cost less.
The factors driving the cost of care are complex. The solutions should be simple. And, free market solutions offer the best means to deliver quality services at an affordable price while maintaining the liberties Americans value. I propose a ten point plan to lower health costs.
Health Care Reform for American Families
- End the individual mandate to purchase health insurance and all associated penalties under ACA by amending the existing law.
- Eliminate the Minimum Essential Coverage provision and allow employers and patients to choose their own health benefits by amending the existing law.
- Expand Health Savings Accounts by allowing US citizens and employers to contribute toward Health Savings Accounts and pay for qualified medical expenses on a pre-tax basis regardless of health insurance. Add health insurance premiums to the definition of qualified medical expenses.
- Import pharmaceuticals by allowing consumers, employers, and insurance companies to purchase pharmaceuticals in international markets with no additional restrictions, penalties, or loss of coverage than if they bought them in the US.
- Increase patient choice by requiring all hospitals and physicians to make fee schedules and quality outcomes publicly available. Consumers should be able to comparison shop for health services.
- Reform the billing practices of physicians and hospitals so that they utilize a single fee schedule regardless of who pays the bill.
- Allow more healthcare providers to meet burgeoning demand for primary care by allowing alternative health care professionals. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants should be able to perform more services at a lower cost without risk of fraud.
- Defend against anti-competitive mergers among physicians, hospitals, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical manufacturers which in effect act as monopolies and increase costs.
- Foster competition among hospitals by eliminating the current Certificate of Need (CON) requirement in certain states like Georgia.
- Reform state licensing of doctors. Current professional licensing practices restrict supply and increase costs. Consumers need more qualified physicians admitted to medical schools and medical boards.
The above does not exhaust the list. All of the specific measures above involve less red tape, more personal choice, less government, and lower cost. Implementing this plan requires detailed legislation as well as fighting entrenched special interests.