Saturday, September 05, 2009

Less Is More: Laproscopic Surgery for American Healthcare

The political disagreement is not whether to cover everyone, but how to do so.

Keep it coming.

Today's WSJ has yet another eyes-wide-open discussion about reforming American healthcare, which is to say yet another approach that is pretended not to exist by those blindly following the lead of the left and so posting Facebook statuses reading "No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day."

The column is from Congresspeople John Shadegg and Pete Hoekstra, who are congenitally stupid and evil because they are Republicans but deserve a hearing first. They note:
  • American patients, whose bills are nearly all paid directly by employer-selected insurance companies or Uncle Sugar, have no sense of the connection between their treatment and the costs.
  • The legal means exists for states to subsidize care for individuals with expensive-to-treat conditions or with little means to pay for insurance.
  • The number of uninsured is less than represented but can be largely addressed by relatively simple measures.
  • The core of the American healthcare system is strong enough to yield the longest survival rates for all major cancers and just under half a million patients coming to this country from abroad for treatment each year.
Hence, they propose:
  • Allowing Americans to get the same tax break for individually purchased insurance as for employer-provided group plans, thereby empowering individuals to shop for the best price and the best coverage.
  • Creating the very high-risk pools that current law allows, enhancing them with reinsurance pools and the like, to cover folks who are inherently expensive.
  • Providing vouchers to those with low incomes to allow them the same flexibility to get coverage.
Ever wonder why there's everything from Safe Auto to State Farm for your car but not for your doc? Two reasons: (a) there's no effective price competition; (b) there's no effective limit to the expense one can incur trying to stay alive. Restoring individual control addresses the first, creating high-risk pools addresses the second. Vouchers make the benefits available to all.

It's a safe bet this won't be acknowledged Wednesday night.

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