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  • What Patient-Centered Health Care Reform Really Looks Like

    The Utah State Capitol Building in Salt Lake City

    There’s a lot of talk these days about patient-centered health care reform. Before Obamacare, health care revolved around employers, and little has changed since passage of the new law.

    This is primarily due to federal policy regarding the tax treatment of employer-sponsored insurance, which was left untouched by the federal overhaul. In recent research, Heritage’s Gregg Girvan explains how this system has led to one-size-fits-all employer-based plans that offer “little or no personal choice; little or no portability of coverage in a rapidly changing economy where workers are changing jobs and careers; and little or no flexibility in tailoring insurance coverage to meet individual and family needs.”

    Obamacare moves the focus more towards government than individuals. In contrast, the new patient-centered system Utah is implementing as part of its own health care reform moves employer coverage away from “defined benefits” and towards “defined contribution.” This allows employees to apply their employers’ contribution to a health plan that works best for them. Girvan explains:

    The defined-contribution option makes it easier for businesses to offer health benefits because the business is not required to find and manage the coverage. Thus, by reducing the level of effort and risk to employers in offering health benefits, it creates a path for more firms, particularly smaller ones, to begin offering their workers coverage.

    Because each worker can choose the coverage he or she prefers from a wide and varied menu of plans under the defined-contribution option, it also increases the likelihood that younger workers, who generally have lower earnings, will be able to find a plan that they like and can afford.

    In addition, the defined-contribution option makes it practical for employers to offer their part-time or seasonal workers prorated coverage contributions, with a reasonable expectation that those workers can then obtain coverage by combining that employer’s contribution with funds from other sources.

    Utah’s health care reform was tailored to meet the unique needs of its residents, something no federal overhaul will achieve for all 50 states. In addition, the new system puts patients, not employers or the government, in the driver’s seat. By giving patients more control over their health care dollars, Utah policymakers resisted the concentration of power in Washington, providing an example for other states seeking to make a difference for their citizens. To learn more about the Utah health plan and how defined contribution serves patients, read Girvan’s full analysis, available here.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to What Patient-Centered Health Care Reform Really Looks Like

    1. West Texan says:

      Utah demonstrates, with their innovative health care model, how our federal union is suppose to work. Except as a repository for shared ideas like Utah's, the federal government needs to end their direct involvement in health care reform as such constitutionally remains states' business. I believe James Madison would say we've entered the phase of illegitimate national government. The evidence is their continued overreach into domestic affairs and out-of-control spending to cover same. What's particularity disturbing with the current administration is their weak stand on foreign policy. Mt greatest "HOPE" is for Governor Perry to define limited powers for Obama during his unflattering presence in Texas today.

    2. Billie says:

      We don't want government ENTITLED to our individual health care. We're not ENTITLED TO THEIRS. We have the human mind to take care of ourselves that we do not give up for something more the government can do for ITSELF. It is truly pathetic to be forced to put our health in the hands of incompetence AND corruption and unnecessary costs for government make-work.

    3. Pingback: What Patient-Centered Health Care Reform Really Looks Like | The … : DynamicSystems

    4. Sue Goreham says:

      I don't understand why health insurance and employment compensation must be associated.

      Health insurance is simply a form of compensation that is taxed differently from the rest of an employee's compensation. An employee plan is simply a way to group insurance customers in order to spread costs risk within a defined group.

      Separate health insurance from employment and gain:

      1. Efficiency for the employer who no longer must spend resouces on an issue that has nothing to do with making widgets.

      2. Freedom for the employee who can purchase the plan that fits his needs.

      3. Better health because plans will be structured to encourage healthy behavior in the same way that auto insurance premiums are lower for good drivers. It would be the customer's decision to smoke and pay the higher premium.

      4. Freedom as customers define and join their own groups to spread the risk.

      5. Freedom because the customer is not tied to a specific employer because of health insurance.

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