Yet Another Conservative Health Care Alternative

I don’t mean to be beating a dead horse (speaking of which, this is damn funny), but anytime a conservative writes another editorial aboot our ideas for health care reform that the White House claims we don’t have, I find it necessary to blog aboot it because…well, if we don’t get the info out there the White House will lie that we don’t have any ideas. Today’s editorial comes from Reps. John Shadegg (R-AZ) and Pete Hoekstra (R-MI).

They didn’t break any new ground here. It was mainly a medley of different ways to fix the three biggest things that need to be reformed: costs and control, pre-existing conditions, and uninsured Americans. The first one is the one I wanted to focus on, because the Democrat Party’s new poll driven message is that it’s not health care reform, it’s health care insurance reform. You see, the insurance industry is the new private sector boogeyman du joir.

So if it’s aboot health care insurance reform, word. Here’s a way to do just that…

The health-care reform debate centers on how to lower the cost of care, and who should ultimately control health-care decisions. Under the current system, nobody is focused on controlling costs. Roughly 60% of all health care in America is employer-provided. This third-party payment structure has divorced the consumer—the patient—from the real cost of services. It encourages excess spending, runaway lawsuits, defensive medicine (doctors ordering unnecessary tests and procedures out of fear of being sued), and huge malpractice premiums. President Obama and Democrats in Congress say that a new federal health-care bureaucracy and a so-called public plan is the answer. They are wrong.

Government has caused the problems we face in health care. Our tax code incentivizes employer-provided health care, rewards health insurance companies by insulating them from accountability, and punishes those who lack employer-provided care. Every night on television there are dozens of commercials from Geico, Progressive, Allstate and other companies offering us better auto insurance at lower costs. But there are virtually no commercials for health insurance. This is because the federal government protects health insurance companies from real competition. Insurers don’t have to market to consumers. They only have to satisfy employers. In addition, a person living in New York, for example, is currently only permitted to purchase individual insurance in New York. Allowing competition across state lines would drive down cost tremendously.

We believe the solution to this problem is patient choice. What appears to be a free market in health care today is not. The health-care market is a stacked deck that favors insurance companies rather than patients. We must stop punishing Americans who buy their own plan by forcing them to purchase their care with after-tax dollars, making it at least one-third more expensive than employer-provided care. Individuals should be able to take their employer’s plan, or turn it down and select insurance of their own choosing without any tax penalty.

Now, some of the more cynical of us might say that the Democrat plan all along is to put the insurance companies out of business, and that this “public option” is just a Trojan horse to bring American to single payer. At least, we could think that judging recent comment from Barney Frank, Anthony Weiner, and the titular head of the Democrat Party Michael Moore, and also past comments by Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and, well…Barack Obama.

And if I were that cynical, I’d probably also say that the Democrats don’t care aboot any actual “bi-partisan” reform as much as they want Republicans to cover their ass on a bill that has proven to be unpopular with the American people.

But let’s take the Democrat’s at their word and they aren’t trying to put the insurance companies out a business – effectively putting millions more people out of work, who would then also be forced on the new government plan. Let’s take them at their word that they just want to “reform” health insurance.

Reps. Shadegg and Hoekstra make a lot of sense to me. Why not invite them to the table?

You know, along with Rep. Ryan, Rep. Price, Sen. Coburn, Sen. Barrasso, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, the CEO from Whole Foods…

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4 thoughts on “Yet Another Conservative Health Care Alternative”

  1. I have always like John Shadegg, unfortunately, I moved out of his district when I bought my house.
    And do you want to buy my Trojan Horse? 🙂
    (indyfromaz.wordpress.com)

  2. “It encourages excess spending, runaway lawsuits, defensive medicine (doctors ordering unnecessary tests and procedures out of fear of being sued), and huge malpractice premiums.”

    So. Why would I believe these statements without any verifiable facts to what this person says. Of what percent of the total cost of medical is related to lawyers. Could it be that the Republicans are trying to decapitate trial lawyers so as to eliminate a major source of funding? Do I have proof, no. But I have not seen any proof otherwise regarding the statements this congressman said. In fact I have seen otherwise. Does anyone have evidence to counter the following.

    Remember the GOA report regarding the cost of a single payer system that we all grasped to support our arguments against a single payer system…

    Well they did a report on medical malpractice and could not find any evidence to substantiate the claims of lawsuits impacting health care costs, access to health care or defensive medicine (with one possible lose connection relating to OBGYN). But of course you will not see this report on any media outlet swinging left or right.

    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d03836.pdf

    Then there is the CBO report which had this to say about tort reform:

    “But even large savings in premiums can have only a small direct impact on health care spending–private or governmental–because malpractice costs account for less than 2 percent of that spending.”

    http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=4968&type=0#t3

    And of course there is Tillinghast-Towers Perrin (one of the largest in the world that provides risk management for the insurance and reinsurance industry).

    According to the actuarial consulting firm Towers Perrin, medical malpractice tort costs were $30.4 billion in 2007, the last year for which data are available. We have a more than a $2 trillion health care system. That puts litigation costs and malpractice insurance at 1 to 1.5 percent of total medical costs. That’s a rounding error. Liability isn’t even the tail on the cost dog. It’s the hair on the end of the tail.

    Of that 1 to 1.5 percent what portion of that is “frivolous”?

    http://www.towersperrin.com/tp/getwebcachedoc?webc=USA/2008/200811/2008_tort_costs_trends.pdf (Page 10)

    And then of course the report from Towers Perrin that states that the total tort cost in the US is 2% of the GDP. What percentage of that is “frivolous” and of that percentage what percentage is “frivolous” corporate lawsuits. So how much are “frivolous” lawsuits driving up the cost of everything? Maybe less than 2 cents on the dollar or maybe even less the 1 cent on the dollar?
    http://www.towersperrin.com/tp/getwebcachedoc?webc=USA/2008/200811/2008_tort_costs_trends.pdf

  3. While I agree with some of the proposals what really scares me are statements like “Anyone in the country can walk into an emergency room and receive care regardless of his or her ability to pay.”

    This shows there lack of understanding of the cost of health care. Emergency room health care is extremely expensive because it is not preventative care. We all pay for emergency room care. It is a cost to society which gets passed onto all of us. It is not free cost so what is the point of that statement.

    “Government has caused the problems we face in health care. Our tax code incentivizes employer-provided health care, rewards health insurance companies by insulating them from accountability, and punishes those who lack employer-provided care.”

    What does this solve? How does this insulate insurance companies for accountability?

    I choose the employer that I want to work for based on several items, health benefits being one of them. I do not understand the point of this statement. In some respects large corporations has much more leverage then an individual to get the best deal on the market.

    Sorry, I do not see the connection.

    What are the largest drivers of health care that can be proven with statistics that can be verified?

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