NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

CALIFORNIA CAN DO MUCH TO HELP MORE PEOPLE AFFORD THEIR OWN HEALTH INSURANCE

December 1, 2006

There is much California could do to make health insurance available to many more people at a cost they could afford.  Many simple steps could be taken that would cost nothing, says Richard E. Ralston, executive director of Americans for Free Choice in Medicine in Newport Beach.

Eliminate all regulations that mandate the type of coverage for every policy:

  • At minimum, create a new category of basic policies that cover hospitalization or other expensive treatment for major illness or injury.
  • Such basic policies would also cover annual physical examinations, immunizations and two or three office visits a year.
  • They would be free of any laundry list of required coverage and exotic treatments now mandated by state regulation for "politically correct" diseases.
  • Special interests lobbying for the mandatory coverage of everything from chiropractic care to in vitro fertilization should not be allowed to force the cost of such care on everyone.

Income used to pay premiums for basic coverage should be free of state taxes and withholding, or refunded as credits for those who do not pay taxes:

  • Contributions to Health Savings Accounts for qualified low-premium, high-deductible policies should also be free of state taxes.
  • If citizens cannot afford insurance, they can hardly afford to pay taxes on the money they use to pay premiums.

Additionally, all employers should be allowed to offer their employees basic insurance that is portable, so the employees can keep their insurance and Health Savings Accounts if they change jobs.  

California and other states must resist the illusion that more government regulation, more government bureaucracy, and more government spending will help us pay our insurance and medical bills, says Ralston.

Source: Richard E. Ralston, "Don't follow Massachusetts' lead; California can do much to help more people afford their own health insurance," Orange County Register, November 30, 2006.

 

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