Conservatives believe in free markets rather than controlled or regulated markets. A free market in medical care is present when most medical care is paid out-of-pocket and individuals own their own insurance policies. We are moving away from this as we transition from pre ObamaCare to ObamaCare.
Rather than supporting unconstitutional bill such as H.R. 3121, the American Health Care Reform Act of 2013, Republicans should work to fix two major problems.
The first problem is that job-based health care occurs because of tax incentives to employers owning the health insurance policies of their workers. This causes much of the problem of people with preexisting illnesses being unable to obtain health insurance. This is because when they leave their job, they lose their job-based health insurance.
The best way to fix this is to remove the income and FICA tax incentives to job-based health insurance.
The second problem is the ObamaCare requirement that everyone has to pay for ten essential benefits mandates on individually owned health insurance:
Outpatient care—the kind you get without being admitted to a hospital
Trips to the emergency room
Treatment in the hospital for inpatient care
Care before and after your baby is born
Mental health and substance use disorder services: This includes behavioral health treatment, counseling, and psychotherapy
Your prescription drugs
Services and devices to help you recover if you are injured, or have a disability or chronic condition. This includes physical and occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, psychiatric rehabilitation, and more.
Your lab tests
Preventive services including counseling, screenings, and vaccines to keep you healthy and care for managing a chronic disease.
Pediatric services: This includes dental care and vision care for kids
These “benefits” drive up the costs of health insurance policies. These ideas might make sense with job-based health insurance plans because the plans must meet the needs of all their workers who might be young, old, male, female, smokers, non smokers, etc.
This is much less needed in the individual insurance market where people can choose according to their various needs and deductibles. In our federal system, states can make rules. The results of the various states regulations can be compared. Those states with the best results will likely become the norm.
The grid on the left pre ObamaCare column shows the percentage of coverage in 2011. This was before the major effects of ObamaCare. The private sector of employer and individually owned health insurance totaled 54 percent.
The Transition column is our current situation. Because of the expensive mandates, the private sector of individual and employer coverage is decreasing while the uninsured and government sectors are increasing.
The conservative plan suggested would result in a decrease in job-based coverage. There would be an increase in the individual coverage as individuals moved from job-based coverage and dropped the expensive and unneeded “benefits.” Individuals would also tend to choose higher deductible plans to decrease the size of their premiums. This would have them pay for more of their care out-of-pocket which would bring down costs.
As costs decrease, more people would move off the roles of the uninsured and Medicaid.
Medicare is age dependent and would continue to grow as the population ages unless the national government changes the rules.
In the future, conservatives should also work to make the changes to take us to free-market medical care.
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