NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 13, 2004

With the presidential candidates focused on domestic issues, America is witnessing a debate between two fundamentally different visions of health care. John Kerry has offered up more of the same for health reform. In sharp contrast, President Bush proposes a package that could rout Hillary Clinton's statism and create a health-care revolution.

But President Bush shouldn't just emphasize Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) (which Sen. Kerry, incidentally, opposes). He can map out further reforms that will make health insurance more affordable, says David Gratzer, a physician and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

  • Tax fairness: While employer contributions to health insurance are nontaxable, individuals must pay in after-tax dollars; leveling the tax field not only makes health care more affordable, it also corrects the employer-based preference, a carry-over from World War II wage-and-price controls.
  • Out-of-state insurance: State regulations have decimated insurance choices and driven up the cost of coverage in many jurisdictions; the federal government must allow out-of-state purchases of health insurance.
  • Deregulation: Health care is choked by an endless list of regulations and restrictive laws that stifle innovation and result in high-cost, low-satisfaction medicine. Clinics and hospitals must comply with more than 100,000 pages of Medicare regulations.

President Bush should speak simply and clearly: A decade after Hillarycare, there is an alternative that places Americans, not government bureaucrats, in charge of their own health care. He should emphasize this for the remainder of the campaign, says Gratzer.

Source: David Gratzer, ?HSA Man Vs. Healthzilla,? Wall Street Journal, October 12, 2004.

For WSJ text (subscription required),,SB109753892260742566,00.html


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