The Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote on its health care package on Saturday (November 7). If it passes, perhaps the vote will become known as the “Saturday Political Massacre,” as small businesses and their employees, health care consumers and providers, and the U.S. economy will be savaged by misguided politics overriding sound economics.
But there is an alternative.
House Republicans have announced a health care plan that points in a far different and more productive direction. The GOP plan features:
• boosting competition and choice by creating a nationwide insurance marketplace, allowing for health insurance purchases across state lines;
• helping small businesses by allowing them to pool together to gain access to lower cost insurance coverage;
• implementing medical liability reforms to bring down the costs of junk lawsuits and defensive medicine;
• allowing qualified participants to use funds in health savings accounts to pay the premiums for high deductible health insurance plans;
• expanding and reforming high-risk pools in order to expand insurance coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.
Rather than expanding the size and reach of government in health care, these proposals actually would enhance competition and choice in health care.
If people truly think that more government will somehow reduce costs and boost the quality of care – contrary to what economics and history teach – then they should support the plan pushed by House Democratic leaders and President Obama. But if they think that more competition and choice in the private marketplace is the right answer – again, as economics and history teach – then the House Republican plan is worthy of support.
Raymond J. Keating
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council