Free-markets, Affordability, and Individual Rights

Before I describe my proposal, I would like to acknowedge Paul Hsieh, M.D. for his excellent letter to Colorado doctors about the horrors of government-controlled medicine.

——

Colorado’s Commission on Health Care Reform has posted its proposals on their website. Click on “Proposals” and then “Health Reform Proposals” in the left sidebar.

I submitted one of them, entitled FAIR: Free-markets, Affordability, and Individual Rights. (pdf version) There have been, and will continue to be, articles in newspapers citing these proposals (such as this one rightly skeptical of community rating).

If you like what you read in the proposal, please consider citing it in letters as a free-market alternative to more intrusive, costly, and counter-productive government controls suggested in other proposals. (It’s also possible that other proposals suggest deregulating to some extent.)

I cite many studies, including:

* how third-party payment replaces the medical ethic with the veterinary ethic (p. 2)
* the adverse effects of the federal tax exemption for employer-paid premiums (p. 4)
* the adverse effects of how community rating, mandates, and guaranteed issue (p. 14)
* how U.S. health care is the best in the world (Appendix A, p. 36)
* how pre-paid health care plans encourage over-consumption (Appendix C, p. 38)
* the adverse effects of Medicaid, including that it increases costs, enrollees have poor access, it encourages dependence and discourages self-improvement (Appendix D, p. 39)
* the entire text of Milton Friedman’s How to Cure Health Care (Appendix E, p. 47)
* complete references to every work cited in the proposal (Appendix F, p. 59)
Brian

Here is the press release:

—————–
For immediate release

Brian T. Schwartz, Ph.D., has submitted a proposal to Colorado’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care Reform titled

FAIR: Free-markets, Affordability, and Individual Rights.

This proposal is unlike most proposals for health care reform, which call for more government controls, spending, and programs. Instead, FAIR addresses the root cause of skyrocketing health care costs: federal and state programs and policies that infringe upon our individual rights. The proposal draws upon dozens of resources including the RAND Corporation, the National Bureau of Economic Research, and the Cato Institute. It leads with a quote by Nobel laureate Milton Friedman.

Schwartz writes that the “tax exempt status of employer-provided health insurance, mandated insurance benefits, and Medicaid have transformed most health insurance policies into pre-paid health care, which insulates consumers from the true costs of health care and hence increases costs for everyone. Third-party payments also insulate doctors from their patients, which erodes the doctor-patient relationship. While Schwartz says that fundamental reform must occur at the federal level (eliminating the tax subsidy for employer-provided insurance, Medicaid and Medicare, and FDA reform), he calls on the Colorado legislature to:

* “Repeal any and all benefits mandates related to health insurance. Such mandates drive up the costs of insurance premiums, thereby causing some people to drop insurance or not purchase it.”

* “Phase out the state’s distinction of a ‘small group of one’ [a.k.a., ‘business group of one’]… [This] will encourage more of the self-employed to seek lower-cost, long-term, individual insurance in conjunction with a tax-exempt Health Savings Account.”

* Reform Medicaid –
In a detailed Appendix, Schwartz shows how Medicaid fails to satisfy any of the Commission’s criteria. He proposes that the Colorado legislature:
(1) convert Medicaid to a program that provides enrollees vouchers for private health insurance and Health Opportunity Accounts.
(2) reduce costs and abuse by utilizing the new state-level authority granted by the 2006 Deficit Reduction Act (DRA)

(3) “allow
Medicaid to compete with charities by establishing a dollar-for-dollar tax deduction for donations to qualified Colorado Health Charities.”

Preview proposalDownload PDF

For questions and more information, contact Brian at info[at]WhoOwnsYou.org.

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2 Comments

Filed under achievement, public policy

2 responses to “Free-markets, Affordability, and Individual Rights

  1. Terrill

    Hi Brian–
    As far as I can tell, your website doesn’t have a “contact me” link. So, I’m contacting you this way. We were in Boulder last week–if we’d known you were there we could have gotten together! Are you going to re-unite in June? Is the “Andrew” you’re always referring to on your blog our classmate? I enjoyed your Avagadro’s Number song.

  2. Terrill

    Hi Brian–
    As far as I can tell, your website doesn’t have a “contact me” link. So, I’m contacting you this way. We were in Boulder last week–if we’d known you were there we could have gotten together! Are you going to re-unite in June? Is the “Andrew” you’re always referring to on your blog our classmate? I enjoyed your Avagadro’s Number song.

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