Okay, we've elected a new Congress. Most new Members ran on repealing ObamaCare (or at least defunding it), calling a halt to extravagant Stimulus spending, and extending the Republican tax cuts that are due to expire January 1 (because, as TEA Partiers say, we are Taxed Enough Already). Even if Republicans accomplish all this, that is just the end of the beginning. We need much, much more to repair the damage of two years of extravagant spending.
Republicans have many good ideas for health care reform, such as allowing us to buy insurance from another state if our own state has loaded on too many expensive mandates. Another good idea is tort reform. Here is a third good idea that I hope the new Congress will consider. I suggest that the most important reform in health care would be to specify that employee group health insurance plans must allow higher and higher deductibles. This could be phased in over several years. This would mean that smaller, routine expenses would be paid from pre-tax or tax-deductible individual health savings accounts. Those expenses cannot be efficiently delivered by a third-party payer. This reform would steer the health insurance market toward coverage of “catastrophic” health problems, the big costly problems.
This reform would go a long way toward breaking the unfortunate link that ties health insurance to jobs, and thus traps millions of Americans into a tough compromise between an unproductive job and unsuitable high-cost health insurance. We got into this fix because of a legal fluke that began as a tax loophole after World War II and it should be remedied now.
Listen to the radio commentary here: