Our health care system is broken. Obamacare, while well-intentioned, simply made the problem worse. We all agree that health care should be more accessible, affordable, and innovative. But how do we get there?
What we need are more organic solutions that empower patients — like more flexible health care plans — and respect the doctor-patient relationship. This path leads to more affordable health care, easier access to services for everyone, and more innovative, life-saving treatments.
Dig deeperUse our resources below to learn more about this issue and how you can help find a solution.
The American health care system was broken long before the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) was signed into law in 2009. Since it’s passage, however, things have gotten worse. Millions of Americans have lost their health insurance plans, forcing families to search for new plans that often left them paying more in premiums and seeing unfamiliar doctors.
Premiums and deductibles went up and the types of available plans went down. Today, whether insured through work or on the individual market, Americans now have fewer choices and pay higher costs for the same services.
Congress should repeal the ACA and replace it with a patient-centered law. A patient-centered law would acknowledge that each American has different needs and priorities. Thus the law should allow insurance companies to offer a variety of plans including inexpensive options. Lower-priced options would help those who are uninsured, able-bodied adults currently on Medicaid, and small businesses to purchase health insurance for themselves or their employees.
Congress should ensure that patients with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage can access affordable rates on the individual market. Lawmakers can do this extending the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to cover Americans in the individual market or through high risk pools. Individuals who purchase insurance intermittently only to get coverage when they need it should pay higher rates. That’s only fair.
Congress should also reform Medicare, Medicaid, and Department of Veterans Affairs medical care to make these programs more patient-centered.
To improve the quality of, and increase access to individual coverage, there are many options. Among them:
- Allowing people to purchase health insurance across state lines.
- Improving and expanding access to Health Savings Accounts.
- Providing tax credits for those who purchase plans on the individual market.
- Allowing small businesses to make tax-free contributions to their employees’ individual health care plans.
Make It Happen
While Americans enjoy the best health care in the world, how we purchase health services and insure ourselves against medical costs can be improved. Every American should have options whether he or she is healthy or struggling with a chronic illness, retired or a veteran, overcoming poverty or middle class, self-employed or working a big firm.
- Write your Member of Congress. Congress is under great pressure to maintain the unacceptable status quo even though a majority of Americans want reform.
- Monitor reform efforts. Experts at the American Enterprise Institute continuously update their recommendations for reform.
- Shop around for health insurance and health services. Ask what doctors and hospitals charge for specific services. When consumers shop for lower prices, providers have an incentive to lower prices.
- Get a Health Savings Account (HSA). An increasing number of employer provided plans, plans on the individual market and plans on the exchanges offer plans with HSAs. HSAs enable individuals to save for health care costs in accounts which earn interest tax free.
- Sign up for emails from Thought.buzz to get a thoughtful perspective as the conversation about reforming health care continues.
Why Is Healthcare So Expensive?
The Affordable Care Act was supposed to lower healthcare costs, but it has done just the opposite. Why? Because it ignored the realities of how markets work. Check out this video from Prager University for a quick look at why we pay so much, and what can be done about it.
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