Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Health reform populism

Rather than simply opposing what Progressives are supporting in health reform, conservatives ought to suggest some ideas of their own. Here are two that would be popular and save money: tort reform (to reduce the amount of defensive medicine) and immigration reform (to reduce the number of uninsured who are already covered by our hospitals when they need care).

And how about supporting a law that would require Congressmen, Senators, senior staff and bureaucrats to use the "public option" if it passes? If memory serves, one of the popular items in the Contract with America was to apply to Congress all regulations that they passed for others.

Discussions - 3 Comments

Sadly for conservatives, and for all Americans, the GOP is as opposed to immigration reform as are the Democrats.

I believe DeMint did something like that and the Democrats didn't let it see the light of day.

Item 1: Tort reform is essential and it has to be radical.

Item 2: Allow people to buy insurance policies that meet some federal standard, overriding state mandates. The federal standard should permit policies with high deductibles and co-pays, that is, catastrophic health care insurance that covers only medical necessities.

Item 3: Fix Medicare, a major factor driving up the cost of health care. This would include increasing reimbursements to providers to eliminate cost shifting to the private sector and creating opportunities for people to opt out of the public option with some kind of voucher combined with more aggressive controls over what care Medicare will reimburse.

Item 4: Reduce costly regulatory barriers to innovation in health care. This entails accepting the risk of more thalidomide incidents.

In all our discussions we need to make distinctions between private health care spending, which is not per se a public issue, public spending on health care which is a public issue, and the factors driving up health care costs (versus spending) - mostly government policy. With respect to rationing we need to say that health care, like any other good thing, should be rationed by individuals making private decisions trading off costs and benefits. The public issue is this: just what services we choose to pay for, for what people, under what circumstances. Rationing is built into the resolution of that public issue. The solution will involve to the greatest possible extent tax credits, vouchers and subsidies for insurance coverage that maximize individual responsiblity and choice.

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