CQ Healthbeat has reported that the Republicans in Congress are in the process of putting together some legislation for health care reform.
Here are some key points about it:
1. Provides for allowing for states to regulate private insurers.
This is a no brainer to me and I totally agree. State regulation (as opposed to federal regulation) is much more feasible and less expensive. In fact, most states already have the agencies in place to regulate private health insurance. Federal involvement is a bad idea. More federal regulation = more Washington bureaucracy = more $$$ out of the taxpayers' pockets.
2. It allows for small businesses to join in partnerships to purchase coverage for their employees.
I think this is a good idea. Seems like something somebody could have thought of years ago. And probably already did.
3. Requiring insurers to cover those with pre-existing conditions.
I don't have a problem with this. It would certainly fix the issue of reducing the amount of people that are currently uninsured.
4. Curbing costs by allowing those currently on Medicare and CHIP to convert their coverage into vouchers and purchase their own coverage.
I think this is a great idea. Here is a way that we can actually make an attempt at reducing government bureaucracy by reducing the number of people enrolled in Medicare. Also by doing this we can strengthen the private industry by allowing for more competition among the companies who will need to fight for the business of those formally on Medicare. And more competition in this industry would lead to self regulation. Thus, the need for less government involvement. Thus, less government bureaucracy again. Score!
5. Give individuals and businesses tax deductions and tax credits to help cover premiums.
For businesses, I can see this as a big incentive. However, for individuals, as I have stated many many times before, I really just don't understand how tax credits is going to help the majority of American citizens. I can see how it could help for those uninsured that make enough money to purchase health insurance but choose not to. This could be an incentive because less of their money would taken by the government.
But for those of us that can barely scrap enough money together to pay all of our bills, giving us a tax credit means nothing. If I don't have enough money to buy health insurance now (not me, personally, I have insurance through work but stay with me here), I am not going to be able to buy health insurance with a tax credit. I just honestly don't understand this philosophy.
However, this would fix health in one respect by again reducing the number of people uninsured in the long run so it is a good idea anyway.
Overall, although this legislation is still in the planning stages, it is much better than any reforms the other guys have proposed, especially since this legislation says nothing about expanding government involvement or creating any sort of public plan option.
Here is something that I have not seen brought up by anyway. The fact is, we already have a public plan option. We have two in fact. They are called Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare takes care of the elderly. Medicaid takes care of people living in poverty. These ARE public plans. We do not need anymore. If the Democrats really have to have a public plan option for people, then just expand coverage for these two programs. The increase in cost would be very minimal in my opinion.
Overall, I think this new legislation being put together by the Republicans can ultimately serve to fix the key issues affecting health care today. Especially in reducing the number of uninsured and increasing the amount of quality care. While at the same time reducing the need for government bureaucracy.