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  • The NYT Is Right, Real Choice Should Be Central Goal Of Health Reform

    David Leonhardt reports in today’s New York Times:

    You might think, then, that a central goal of health reform would be to offer people more choice. But it isn’t.

    Real choice is not part of the bills moving through the Democratic-led Congress; even if the much-debated government-run insurance plan was created, it would not be available to most people who already have coverage. Republicans, meanwhile, have shown no interest in making insurance choice part of a compromise they could accept. Both parties are protecting the insurers.

    This is only half right. It is true that the versions of health reform already marked up by Democratic majorities in the House and Senate would decrease, not increase, Americans’ health care choices. But it is 100% untrue that conservatives have not proposed health care alternatives that would increase consumer choice. In fact, virtually all of the conservative health plans on Congress are centered on the insight that increased consumer choice is the key to higher health care quality and lower health care costs:

    • Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Richard Burr (R-NC) along with Reps. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Paul Ryan (R-WI) have all sponsored the Patients’ Choice Act which provides a path to universal coverage by redirecting current subsidies for health insurance to individuals and establishes new safety net that guarantees access to insurance for those with pre-existing conditions.
    • Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) has sponsored the Health Care for All Americans Act which offer tax relief for those who don’t have employer-sponsored insurance or don’t like their current work place coverage, establish new pooling arrangements for individuals, and facilitate mechanisms for the state to address high cost individuals.
    • Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) has introduced the Ten Steps to Transform Health Care in America Act which eliminates unfair tax treatment of health insurance for all Americans, thereby expanding choices, coverage, and control over your health care and increases affordable options for working families to purchase health insurance through a standard tax deduction.

    For our part, Heritage has long been an advocate for consumer driven, patient-centered health reform. Here are six key principles Heritage fellow Ed Haislmaier outlined just last year:

    • Individuals are the key decision makers in the health care system. This would be a major departure from conventional third-party pay­ment arrangements that dominate today’s health care financing in both the public and the private sectors. In a normal market based on personal choice and free-market competition, consumers drive the system.
    • Individuals buy and own their own health insurance coverage. In a normal market, when individuals exchange money for a good or service, they acquire a property right in that good or ser­vice, but in today’s system, individuals and families rarely have property rights in their health insur­ance coverage. The policy is owned and controlled by a third party, either their employers or govern­ment officials. In a reformed system, individuals would own their health insurance, just as they own virtually every other type of insurance in virtually every other sector of the economy.
    • Individuals choose their own health insur­ance coverage. Individuals, not employers or government officials, would choose the health care coverage and level of coverage that they think best. In a normal market, the primacy of consumer choice is the rule, not the exception.
    • Individuals have a wide range of coverage choices. Suppliers of medical goods and ser­vices, including health plans, could freely enter and exit the health care market.
    • Prices are transparent. As in a normal market, individuals as consumers would actually know the prices of the health insurance plan or the medical goods and services that they are buying. This would help them to compare the value that they receive for their money.
    • Individuals have the periodic opportunity to change health coverage. In a consumer-driven health insurance market, individuals would have the ability to pick a new health plan on predict­able terms. They would not be locked into past decisions and deprived of the opportunity to make future choices.
    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    10 Responses to The NYT Is Right, Real Choice Should Be Central Goal Of Health Reform

    1. PK says:

      Noen of these recently introduced acts address a fundamental problem – that there is *no* free market choice in Heath care. All they are is disingenuous attempts to cover up the fact that all of these republicans want to kill Obama's health care reform. Not so much that it's a bad bill (heck, the Iraq war cost 3 trillion dollars), but rather they want to "see him fail," just as GOP party godfatherLimbaugh instructed.

    2. Roger S., Ma. says:

      So, how was that? NYT admits to a small truth so that it can get away with a much bigger lie? And I almost thought they'd suddenly "gone honest". –Honestly!– Nothing like "telling the news slant"!




      It seems that the INTIMIDATIONS AND BRIBES are not powerful enough to convince as many as they wish to convince for this bogus plan.____

      Doing this – against the will of the people,… which, IN MAJORITY!, is clearly reluctant to the project – is a slap in the face to the american public,…a DISRESPECT….not to mention that doing this is non-democratic, therefore ANTI-CONSTITUTIONAL AND SO, ANTI-AMERICAN.____


      A corolary AND OUT THERE IS VERY GOOD LEGAL POWER (lawyers, investigators, journalist, …you name it) with a MASSIVE DOCUMENTATION / PROOF TO WIPE THIS ADMISTRATION TO KINDOM COME____


      Good day everyone,

      Daniel Cabrera


    4. Linda Carlsbad, CA says:

      I agree we need more choices not less. I remember a time when we could buy insurance that only covered major medical, and we paid for everyday things like flu,check up etc. I even bought insurance once when I was already pregnant! This is what we need. My insurance goes up every year because of the government involvement now. The government always costs more. Look at education, their stealing us blind.

    5. Linda Carlsbad, CA says:

      I have to give another comment. My son left his job, to keep his insurance he had to get on the government plan Cobra. The Cobra plan offered Kaiser Insurance for 3 times more then he could go out and buy it himself. This is telling me that the government run health insurance could cost me 3 times as much as I'am paying now. I cannot afford this, I would be taxed instead of having insurance.

    6. C. Adli,NV says:

      The current president ofU.S.A has no intention of improving the healthcare of our people.He is trying to create a stateist country and to grab the power for socialists.

    7. Cheri, Marysville, C says:

      A couple of points.

      1) Using the cost of the/a war to justify "whatever" healthcare will cost is absurd. That is like saying "Because you spent money you didn't have on new tires because yours were slashed, you should get your teeth whitened." Non sequitor…

      2) Kaiser's CEO George Halverson meets regularly with Barrack Obamma. The government plan will be modeled after Kaiser.

      The point being Kaiser does not fit all. That is why we need to keep demanding insurance CHOICES that fit with different stages of life and philosophy. Do Cristian Scientists or other consciencious objectors have to pay the same premium for services they may never use?

    8. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      It is not reform when you herd cattle.


    9. Bill San Antonio TX says:

      Dear PK and Bloggers,

      We all know that health care in America cannot be sustained with the rising costs. This issue should have been addressed years ago and both parties share the blame.

      But, "It is not ALWAYS better to do something than to do nothing." That comment from POTUS infuriates millions. He is an attorney and knows better; that comment is for us dumb uneducated sheep.

      Until we can come up with LOGICAL health care REFORM, we should not risk destroying what we have. POTUS' lack of leadership has caused this mess. What did he expect when he handed this mess over to Pelosi, Waxman, Lee, Frank, Hoyer, Conyers, Weiner, and others too numerous to mention? From the beginning he should have made it crystal clear that he demanded bi-partisian support AND outlined key elements he wanted in the bill.

      Why did he not do that? Because he wanted (as he has stated so many times in his life) a government-run centrally-controlled health care system – but only for us "common" folks.

      Does anyone believe there was any intent on the "public option" being for everyone? I don't see any politicians jumping onboard to join THAT option, which they should do as an ethical matter of GOOD FAITH.

      Don't be fooled PK.

      When you need an oil change or repairs you do not destroy the engine.

    10. Jan Delorme,RN Texa says:

      "Both parties are protecting the insurers". Finally someone noted the truth! Follow the money. It's not about our healthcare, it's about their profit margins.

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