NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 7, 2009

Congress recently began consideration of various proposals to reform health care - and our biggest challenge is to help make it more affordable.  Health care costs have risen far faster than inflation in both good economic times and bad.  Health care costs force many self-employed workers into the ranks of the uninsured.  Americans now spend twice as much per capita on health care than do Canadians, Britons, and our other friends across the developed world.

There is a way to make health care more affordable, says Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).

First, we can get a handle on federal health care fraud:

  • Taxpayers pay up to $90 billion a year in fraudulent and wasteful medical bills, about two-thirds of that in the Medicare program alone.
  • As long as fraud remains a serious problem in Washington, growing government will never be the solution to higher health care costs.

Second, we can lower costs through lawsuit reform:

  • Every victim of medical malpractice should have access to our courts, but our laws must ensure that patients receive reasonable compensation without enriching their lawyers.
  • Texas can be proud of our record in this area, as lawsuit reform has reduced insurance premiums for providers, while still protecting true victims of medical negligence.

Third, we can get better value for our health care dollars by creating more choices for patients through the free market:

  • The free market is the best system ever devised for spurring innovation and delivering the services consumers want at the most competitive prices possible.
  • Government's role should be to make the system work for patients, by encouraging more providers to enter the market, and by ensuring that they are motivated by consumer preferences rather than by government reimbursement rates.

Source: John Cornyn, "Competition can cut the costs of health care," Austin American-Statesman, May 5, 2009.


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