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Free Markets and Health Reform

I think this nation has never been closer to meaningful health reform than it is right now. We are at a tipping point where the nation could be turned towards a nationalized single payer health care system or an improved system where free market economics can be released to reform the market and control costs. Which system would you favor?

Like many people I am quite gun shy of a single payer type system with the government in charge of who gets what health care. I agree with the old adage that the government that governs best, governs least. However, in this case government regulation and oversight is required in order to drive the successful reform of the health insurance and services industries. It does not mean that a government take over of the industry is warranted or desirable.

The solution is direct and it employs Universal Health Care as part of the solution. Simply put, the government must make health insurance coverage mandatory for all Americans. Creditable coverage would include Medicaid for the poor and government subsidized programs like S-CHIP for children and the working poor, Medicare, individual and employer sponsored health insurance coverage.

Once the mandates are in force and Universal Health Care is a reality then the health insurance industry must offer health insurance to all Americans regardless of pre-existing conditions, as insurance industry groups like AHIP have already suggested. Once all Americans have access to health insurance programs regardless of pre-existing conditions then consumers will have the freedom to move from one plan to another.

Consumers’ freedom to move from one plan to another will increase competition within the health insurance industry to make sure they provide quality service at a competitive premium in order to keep customers. Plan portability means free markets work and this is the key to controlling costs, while increasing the level of service provided by the health insurance industry to its valued customers.

Free market forces can solve this problem if the government will stick to regulating, rather than heading down the slippery slope to socialism and government run and rationed health services.

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