>The federal tax treatment of health care subsidizes employer-sponsored insurance (ESI), but not health insurance policies purchased by individuals and families in the non-group market.
>In many states [read: N.C.], the state policies and regulations that shape and direct health insurance markets do not facilitate the purchase of affordable health plans or allow for the portability of health plans.
>The large public programs, including Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), are not designed to enable individuals and families to move easily from public assistance to private health insurance. In other words, getting off public assistance is difficult, regardless of the person’s desire to do so.
>Congress should change federal tax law to provide direct tax relief to individuals and families for the purchase of health insurance coverage. This would enable them to own their coverage and take it with them from job to job. Portability of coverage is the chief remedy for the instability of the existing health insurance markets.
>Until Congress makes these changes, state policymakers should redesign state health insurance markets to promote personal ownership of health plans, enabling individuals and families to keep coverage regardless of employment changes.
>State and federal policymakers should reform public health programs, notably Medicaid and SCHIP, guaranteeing enrollees a reliable, predictable funding stream for health care while designing assistance so that they can use it to buy private coverage, thus facilitating a seamless transition into private coverage. The right welfare policy would enable individuals to move off welfare and into the private economy.
Check out the whole report.