Focus Point - New Thoughts on Health Care

Commentary by

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Employers are shifting to a new, market-friendly system that will give workers more freedom and initiative -- assuming some Federal Laws can be gotten around.

It's called Defined Contribution Health Insurance. Instead of telling employees what their health care options, restrictions and limitations were, employers would make funds available directly to employees, who would purchase whatever kind of coverage they wanted.

Employers would get out from under the regulatory and administrative burdens and costs of managing benefit programs.

Employees would get increased choice, flexibility and portability.

The hurdle is the 1996 Health Insurance Portability Act, which guarantees portability the way the tax simplification act simplifies taxes. In fact, it doesn't deal with portability at all. It doesn't provide for individual plan ownership or allow workers to keep their coverage when they change jobs.

In order to retain the tax advantages now given employer-sponsored defined benefit plans, Congress has to put defined contribution plans on a level playing field. Then, everybody's happy.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, next time, Another Health Policy Suggestion.