Thursday, September 10, 2009

Healthcare

My two cents on healthcare reform: government should keep its mitts off. I don't trust the losers not to screw things up (or screw them up worse, depending on your perspective). My perspective is almost universally more government control = bad, so it's unsurprising that I take this position.

If we insist that I need to offer reform alternatives, here are my no-government-program alternatives to shake up the healthcare market in what I see as a good way:

1) Remove restrictions on selling insurance across state lines. This allows competition within a larger market, encouraging more diversification in plans and more competing providers. This also forces competition between states over coverage requirements, allowing people with no desire for, say, acupuncture coverage, to buy plans that don't cover it by buying from a company based in a state that doesn't require such coverage.

2) Remove the tax advantage for employer-based insurance. Either have all healthcare spending be in pre-tax dollars, or none. None of this "only if the company buys it for you" crap. This would help to sever the connection between employment and health insurance. So you could eventually hope to (a) change/quit jobs without automatically changing/losing coverage and (b) get involved in actually choosing your provider and level of coverage, rather than simply getting the choice of taking or not taking what the employer offers.

No, I don't feel like debating this any more. As Coyote points out, cost trends are open to interpretation (we could be spending more on healthcare than anyone else because we're richer than anyone else, and want better care). Suffice it to say that I'm unconvinced that we have a healthcare crisis at all, let alone one big enough to warrant risking the government mucking everything up further by making it into an excuse for a power grab. So I'm relatively content to do nothing.

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