Friday, December 7, 2012

Healthcare In America

If you are like me, you are concerned about the ever increasing cost of healthcare.  What is the best way to make healthcare affordable, available and higher quality for everyone? 

The current third party payer system of insurance is deeply flawed.  Trying to solve the problem with a top down government program with thousands of pages of new rules is not the answer. 

A better vision for healthcare would rely on individual choice to preserve the doctor patient relationship, control costs, and increase innovation in medicine.  Consumers should be in charge of their health care dollars and decisions.  Doctors should answer directly to us, not a government bureaucrat or to an insurance executive. 

Some basic reforms could give us a health care system that is patient centered instead of insurance or government centered.  The first step is to end the policy of tying health insurance to employment.  This outdated policy provides tax benefits to businesses for providing insurance to employees.  This should be replaced with an individual credit that would allow everyone to make their own choice about the health care they want.  A subsidy to those that don’t pay taxes would allow everyone to afford needed medical care.

The next step is to reform the insurance market.  Insurance should be portable and stable.  Consumers should feel free to switch plans safely and easily without fear of losing coverage. 

Finally, Utah and the other states should be given the freedom to reform their healthcare systems in the way that suits their citizens best.  Bureaucrats in Washington can only create one size fits all solutions.  Federal solutions tend to be inflexible, inefficient and costly.  The track record of the Federal government is poor when it comes to running large, expensive programs.  Just look at the many bankrupt Federal agencies including: Amtrak, the Postal Service, Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Fannie and Freddie Mac, Medicare and Medicaid.  All of these programs have serious financial problems.  Utah will be much more responsible and responsive to the needs of its citizens than Washington can ever hope to be.

There is a better way.  We don’t have to choose between a healthcare system dominated by insurance companies on one hand or a huge new government bureaucracy on the other.  It is time for individuals to be given control over their own healthcare choices.  Individual freedom and market based solutions are the answer to providing high quality care at affordable prices to all Americans. 

Aaron Gabrielson
Wasatch County Republican Chair