NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 10, 2007

When governments run health care, the results are always the same.  We see it in countries all over the world: longer waiting lines, less incentive to improve quality and higher taxes.  Care is rationed.  It's the only way to keep costs down, says Mike Leavitt, secretary of Health and Human Services.

However, the results are different when government organizes a competitive health-care marketplace:

  • Prices drop and quality rises as providers compete for business.
  • Innovation blossoms as the market rewards risk-taking.
  • People enjoy more choices and better access to higher quality, lower cost care.

This approach is why America has the finest system of private medicine in the world.  And it's why over 150,000 Canadians and countless more people from other countries come here each year for health care, explains Leavitt.

To that end, there are a number of reforms that need to be taken:

  • The Children's Health Insurance Program should be reauthorized but redirected toward its original target -- low-income, uninsured children.
  • Competition-based reforms like Medicare Advantage and Medicare's new prescription-drug benefit need to be encouraged.
  • States need to be empowered to organize the marketplace to make private insurance more affordable for all Americans.
  • We need to fix federal tax policy to eliminate the blatant tax discrimination against those who buy health insurance on their own and not through their employers.

In sum, competition is the key, says Leavitt.  Only the free choices of American consumers and the competition of an organized marketplace can keep costs in check and make certain that every American is insured.

Source: Mike Leavitt, "Reforming Health Care," Washington Times, July 9, 2007.


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