By Kevin Price, Publisher and Editor in Chief, US Daily Review.
The good news for Republicans is that it appears very likely that Obamacare will be overturned by the Supreme Court. The questions asked by the Justices, particularly the perennial swing vote, Anthony Kennedy, makes it appear very likely that the court will be overturning the President’s controversial healthcare law in its entirety. This is also bad news for Republicans if they decide to use this victory as an opportunity to do nothing. Millions of Americans were concerned about the direction healthcare was going, they certainly did not like Obamacare, but they did not want the status quo.
The Republican leaders that need to really respond to this are those who are governing the many states that changed parties in 2010. These leaders could produce model reforms that would translate well throughout the country. The federal government does not have a proper role when it comes to health care reform. According to Article I, Section 8, the Congress has seventeen powers, none of them include forcing people to buy something they do not want to purchase nor even solving the healthcare needs (the Founders knew the guys in politics could not solve such, so why leave it to them?). With that, the states should continue to pursue various approaches in an effort to find a better way to pursue health care reform, including:
- Restoring competition among companies nationwide. Right now you can only buy insurance from companies that are in your state. Every effort should be made for individuals to be able to buy plans around the country and for states to reduce and eliminate mandates that essentially prohibit such. There is a small role for Congress in this that could help pave the way for such competition by eliminating federal barriers.
- Fostering individual choice and competition through Health Savings Accounts. One of the biggest problems with healthcare is the lack of individual responsibility and freedom. If people had to pay more for certain healthcare procedures, they would think economically about such. One of the reasons why HMOs were largely a disaster is that the cost of visiting a physician was below anything market. People faced lines and had Department of Motor Vehicle treatment. The same is around the corner with socialized health care. With HSAs, an employer could provide for many procedures — tax free — directly to the employee. Meanwhile these plans could be bolstered with very high deductible plans (that are quite affordable) to cover major illness or injury.
- Encouraging competition and portability. The states should break down the barriers that prevent true competition when it comes to the purchase of health insurance policies. Some states have only one or two carriers because of ridiculous mandates. Freedom of choice should fall on the consumer.
- Serious tort reform. One of the single biggest drivers in health care costs is lawsuits. According to Fox News, many doctors pay as much as $200,000 a year in insurance coverage. Medical malpractice lawsuits add an enormous cost to the practice of medicine. No one is advocating that people should not have recourse for when things go wrong, but if the cost is open ended, the risks are enormous, leading to high insurance premiums and, in turn, the cost of going to a physician. The Democrats, who are driving the health care reform debate, have a very cynical view of the importance of tort reform. Howard Dean, while serving as the Party’s chairman, said he “did not want to take on the lawyers,” expressing greater concern about one of his party’s constituencies than over real reform.
This list, of course, is only a beginning. Meaningful discussions on the cost of regulation, the impact price fixing has on physicians who accept Medicare and Medicaid, and many other topics are worthy of debate. What is most important is that we return the discussion where it belongs — in state capitals around the country — and we seek solutions grounded in freedom and not in more government.