Democrats and progressive activists have done a remarkable job convincing tens of millions of Americans that there are only two ways to fix the nation’s health care system: a government-run single-payer model or a public option plan, which would inevitably lead to the creation of the single-payer system. But it is a false choice.
Americans deserve a health care system that can help everyone access affordable, high-quality health care coverage. Putting the government in charge of health care would undoubtedly improve access for some people, but it would drastically reduce the quality of care for tens of millions of others, and would almost certainly lead to severe rationing of health care.
How can I be so sure? Because the federal government already runs several large health care programs, including Medicaid and the Veterans Health System, and both have huge problems and provide substandard care than those enrolled in it.
The reason so many people believe that a single payer or public option plan could fix health care in the United States is that conservatives, especially conservative politicians, have failed to come up with a compelling alternative and complete.
This is precisely why ST Karnick and I, in close collaboration with other policy experts at the Heartland Institute, developed the American Health Care Plan (AHCP) – a proposal which, if fully implemented, would give everyone access to health care coverage, reduce long-term costs and improve choices for consumers.
Government-run health systems are designed to control and manipulate markets, limit choice and redistribute wealth, and like most government-run systems, public health systems are inadequate because bureaucrats are terrible at handling it. make decisions for others. If the government cannot effectively manage the Postal Service, the VA Health System, and Amtrak without wasting tons of money, why would anyone think it could manage America’s vast health care system?
The key to repairing the health care system is to provide better access for all while making key structural reforms that use the power of the market economy and personal choice. Rather than imposing top-down mandates that restrict consumer freedom, America’s healthcare plan would give everyone more options and encourage healthcare savings across the system.
The foundation of the AHCP is its proposal for Health Ownership Accounts (HOA). HOAs are health savings accounts that would be provided to all Americans who want one, regardless of their income. People could use their HOA to pay for any qualifying health care expense, including health insurance premiums and deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses, and prescription drugs.
Funding for HOA accounts would come from three sources.
First, individuals and families could contribute tax-free annually to their HOA.
Second, those who now have employer-provided health insurance – around 158 million Americans – would get the money employers are currently spending on health insurance, instead of being forced to settle for whatever health insurance plan their employer chooses for them.
Third, low-income Americans, people with disabilities, and children now enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) would receive government funding. The amounts provided by the government would be offered on a sliding scale, depending on income and, in the case of people with serious illnesses, need.
(Medicare would remain in place, and Medicare funding would not be diverted to pay for the U.S. health care plan.)
Under the AHCP, there would be no need for Medicaid or employer health insurance plans, as Americans would have enough money in their HOA accounts to purchase their own health insurance plans, offering more options than ever for the vast majority of families.
Medicare regulations would also be drastically changed. ObamaCare’s cumbersome mandates that raised health insurance costs would be eliminated and regulatory changes would allow people to purchase health insurance across state lines.
Additionally, any consumer association anywhere in America could come together to buy health insurance as a group. No one would ever have to purchase health insurance as an individual again, which would give people in the individual market much more bargaining power, thus reducing costs.
This means that private companies, such as Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, etc., would be able to offer their customers group health insurance at discounted rates. And charities, churches, civic and nonprofit organizations could do the same for their members.
Those with pre-existing conditions would also be protected against loss of access to healthcare through a combination of policies included in the US healthcare plan.
The HOA rules would give individuals the maximum flexibility, to ensure that no one is left behind. For example, individuals could use their HOA funds to pay for the health expenses of their family members. And because unspent HOA funds at the end of the year would carry over to the next year, Americans would have the opportunity to build a substantial health care safety net over time that could be used in the event. health emergency.
The U.S. Health Care Plan would also encourage health care savings by allowing people not on a government health care plan to withdraw 5-10% of their total HOA funds every three years without having to pay any money. taxes. The more money people save by making smart health care choices, the more they could opt out and spend on any product or service they want, even non-health care items.
Best of all, the AHCP wouldn’t require a tax hike, as almost all of the funding for the plan would come from existing healthcare spending.
Under the American Health Care Plan, everyone would have the opportunity to purchase an affordable health insurance plan, regardless of income, race, age, or gender. And those with health insurance would now have more options than ever before and greater incentives to spend their money wisely.
Americans do not need to hand over responsibility for health care to the dysfunctional federal government to improve access and reduce costs. There is a better way, and that is the American health care plan.
Justin Haskins ([email protected]) is a researcher at the Heartland Institute and director of the Heartland Stopping Socialism Project.