Karl Rove has an interesting piece in The Wall Street Journal on how Republicans can offer a compelling solution to the nation’s healthcare woes. His solution is to put more control in the hands of consumers through Healthcare Savings Accounts combined with low-cost catastrophic insurance that is portable from job to job.
It’s the right plan for American workers. The current system is completely idiotic — there’s no good reason why health benefits should be tied to your employer. It hurts small businesses, the unemployed, and drives up the cost of healthcare for everyone. The first step in restoring sanity to the nation’s healthcare system is to decouple heath benefits from employment. Employers don’t buy food, they don’t buy transportation, and we wouldn’t expect to live in corporate-owned housing. The healthcare system in America is a throwback to the days of the company store, and that needs to change.
The Hillarycare solution is the same solution that’s failing in Canada and Britain. Because we have a larger, more diverse population, the rate of failure in the United States would be even faster. The inevitable result of a socialized single-payer system is the rationing of health care, the loss of consumer choice, and a system that costs more and more money. There is no such thing as “free” health care — and like anything else, the more intermediaries that exist between payor and payee, the higher the cost.
Mr. Rove is correct: what we need is a system that offers people choices. A combination of MSAs and tax benefits can cover the small stuff — routine doctor’s visits, preventative healthcare, and other minor medical issues. For catastrophic coverage, programs like AFLAC already provide low-cost catastrophic care insurance. Allowing for better risk pooling will keep those premiums low and ensure that Americans can be protected from more serious issues. The more control people have over healthcare, the more options they have and the more incentives the system has for keeping the quality high and the costs low.
We have a competitive marketplace for life insurance, for annuities, for car insurance, and for just about everything else. The cost of those products hasn’t seen the sort of dramatic inflation that healthcare has. The reason why healthcare in this country is so expensive isn’t because we have a free-market system, it’s because we don’t have a free-market system.
The GOP has to stake their claim on this issue. The principles of a sane free-market system are the best principles for America. We can ensure that every American has access to affordable and quality healthcare without creating yet another stifling bureaucracy. In fact, that’s the only way that Americans can get access to quality, affordable healthcare. However, the GOP will lose unless they’re willing to put up a fight against the special interests who want to keep the current system in place. The pro-worker side lost the Social Security fight specifically because they never bothered to counter the inaccurate and misinformed attacks being thrown out by the side wanting to keep the statist status quo.
When conservatives stand on their principles, they tend to win. When conservatives run away from their principles, they tend to lose. America needs leadership willing to stand up for the right principles. If the current crop of GOP candidates are unwilling to do so, we could end up with a socialized system of healthcare that will result in thousands of needless deaths and a healthcare system that will end up like the collapsing Canadian and British systems — except we’ll get their faster and with more devastation in our wake. The American people deserve better than that, and if the GOP leaves the field to the advocates of socialized medicine, they’ll have betrayed both their principles and their constituents.