THE CONSERVATIVE CASE FOR REFORM
October 6, 2009
The public is interested in solutions that will improve America's health care system, not dismantle it, says Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal (R), who recommends 10 ideas to increase the affordability and quality of health care.
These proposals would require insurance companies to do their jobs and spread risk over large populations, restore patients' power to make their own health care decisions, and focus our system on quality instead of activity, says Jindal:
- Voluntary purchasing pools: Give individuals and small businesses the opportunities that large businesses and the government have to seek lower insurance costs.
- Portability: As people change jobs or move across state lines, they change insurance plans; by allowing consumers to "own" their policies, insurers would have incentive to make more investments in prevention and in managing chronic conditions.
- Lawsuit reform: It makes no sense to ignore one of the biggest cost drivers in the system -- the cost of defensive medicine, largely driven by lawsuits.
- Require coverage of preexisting conditions: Insurance should not be least accessible when it is needed most.
- Transparency and payment reform: Provider quality and cost should be plainly available to consumers, and payment systems should be based on outcomes, not volume.
- Electronic medical records: The current system of paper records threatens patient privacy and leads to bad outcomes and higher costs.
- Tax-free health savings accounts: HSAs have helped reduce costs for employers and consumers; some businesses have seen their costs decrease by double-digit percentages.
- Reward healthy lifestyle choices: Providing premium rebates and other incentives to people who make healthy choices or participate in management of their chronic diseases.
- Cover young adults: Large portions of the uninsured are people who cannot afford coverage after they have "aged out" of their parents' policies; permit young people to stay on their parents' plans longer.
- Refundable tax credits: For the uninsured and those who would benefit from greater flexibility of coverage.
Source: Bobby Jindal, "The Conservative Case for Reform," Washington Post, October 5, 2009.
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