Monday, July 27, 2009

A conservative alternative

One of the bogus arguments that leftists use against conservatives who oppose the president's Marxist health care takeover is that we don't have any plan of our own. That we're just being critical with nothing constructive to bring to the debate.

The reason that this is a bogus argument is that you don't need an alternate plan of your own in order to point out that someone's proposed solution to a problem will only make things worse, not better.

After all if someone is claiming that drinking a quart of chlorine bleach will cure inoperable lung cancer one does not need to have a cancer cure of his own in order to point out that downing a bottle of Clorox will not make anyone better, it will only kill them quicker.

However since conservatism does offer actual solutions to problems here are some common sense market-based actions which will begin to reduce health care costs in this country.

1. Meaningful tort reform. Things like loser pays and capping the amount of punitive damage awards will bring down the exorbitant premiums doctors are forced to pay for malpractice insurance and put a stop to much of the "defensive testing" which adds as much as 15% to health care costs.

2. Medical Savings Accounts. This reintroduces market forces back into the health care equation and encourages patients to make wise choices about how and when they seek medical care. By letting the account holder keep the unspent portion of the MSA at the end of the year running to the doctor for every hangnail or sniffle is discouraged.

3. Free insurance companies from regulatory mandates to provide expensive additions to basic health insurance policies. For example many states require insurance companies to include coverage for services like acupuncture and marriage counseling in all policies they write. This is done in order to spread the cost of those "boutique" items out over the entire population of insurance buyers but it jacks up the price of policies to the point where many find them difficult to afford.

Let insurance companies write bare bones policies which cover serious injuries and serious illnesses only and you will see a great many people who currently choose not to purchase insurance enter the market. A policy which covers only catastrophic events would be much more affordable than one which must also cover visits to herbalists and past life regression counselors.

By removing the dead hand of government and the greedy hand of the trial lawyers from our health care system we will bring about significant reductions in cost. I suggest we do this and then step back and wait a decade and then reevaluate the situation. If something more is needed then we can work on it then.