The people in Massachusetts have the most expensive health insurance rates in the country (the average family pays more than $13,000 a year). They also have the longest waits to see a doctor – sometimes up to a year to see a specialist. The system in that state is essentially the model the Democratic leaders have been trying to force on the entire country. And the voters there unsurprisingly soundly rejected it.
This has renewed my faith in the intelligence of the American public, and in the power of our system of government. In voting Scott Brown into Congress, a serious disaster may have been avoided. The proposed plan would have caused insurance rates to skyrocket, and would have no-doubt been MUCH more expensive than proposed. Quality of care would have declined, and health costs would have continued to grow.
But now, we have an opportunity to start over. Not to “fix” the proposed bills, not to pass them piece-meal, but to actually start fresh, with an entirely different approach that will actually work.
To create a system that cuts cost and improves quality, convenience, and innovation, we need less government involvement, and more consumer involvement. HSA plans should be expanded, tax code that favors employer provided coverage over individual coverage should be eliminated, and rules that prohibit competition among insurance plans in different states should be eliminated. Tort reform should be enacted, of course.
It should go without saying that whatever bills pass should benefit all Americans. We don’t need back-room deals to give favoritism to union members over non-union members; tax-payers should not be paying the costs for citizens in one particular state; and all bills should be posted online for at least 72 hours before a vote, so we the public can see what is being voted on.
We definitely need health insurance reform in this country. But passing “anything” is not better than passing nothing. We have great opportunity now, to get this right.