Most people will agree that healthcare reform is necessary. However, the majority of North Carolinians, according to the latest Civitas poll, don’t agree that ObamaCare is the way to resolve our problems as shown by their support of the General Assembly’s attempt to challenge its constitutionality.
Because ObamaCare would be a step in the wrong direction, we need to create a sound viable alternative. In her recently released paper, Nina Owcharenko provides the four steps necessary to create long-lasting reform that is both market-based and patient-focused. In her report, she states that any health care reform should preserve the doctor-patient relationship and promote cutting-edge innovation while controlling costs and expanding access to private coverage.
Successful reform will contain these four crucial areas:
- Tax reform. Under the current system, individuals who receive employer-sponsored coverage receive preferential tax treatment over those shopping in the individual market. Tax policy reform is crucial to create equality within the system. “Congress should replace the current tax treatment of health insurance with a credit that is individually based … replacing the current open-ended tax break for work-based coverage with a broader and fairer tax system for individuals. … Congress should [also] provide low-income, non-taxpaying workers with a comparable subsidy.”
- Entitlement reform. Reform of Medicare and Medicaid, two of the nation’s most costly entitlement programs, is necessary to save our fiscal future. Moreover, transformation would ensure that they better meet the needs of their beneficiaries. “These programs transfer enormous power into the hands of bureaucrats to control or limit enrollees’ person health care decisions and discourage market-based efficiencies.” By switching to a system where consumers, not bureaucrats, make decisions about their own health care, Congress could put these programs on a sustainable path while providing better quality care.
- Insurance reform. Another step to creating a market-based health care system is insurance reform. Congress can make changes to the existing system that allow interstate purchases of health insurance, remove barriers to access for hard-to-insure patients, and allow for more effective ways to pool patients. These reforms would expand coverage without disrupting the system for those it currently serves well.
- State-based reform. No two states have the same health care reform needs. Because of this, states, not Washington, should take the lead in designing reforms that best meet the needs of their residents. “State policymakers should pursue innovative ways to advance a consumer-based marketplace at the state level. Good state experimentation can help to identify future federal changes necessary to achieve full reform.
Legislators would be wise to consider these alternative proposals when considering future healthcare reform legislation, both at the national and state level.