Today’s Wall Street Journal has an excellent Op-ed on the Republican alternative to Obama’s oncoming Health Care Nationalization and Debacle.
The nexus of their plan is redirecting the $300 billion annual tax subsidy for employment-based health insurance to individuals in the form of refundable, advanceable tax credits. Families would get $5,700 a year and individuals $2,300 to buy insurance and invest in Health Savings Accounts.
Low-income Americans would get a supplemental debit card of up to $5,000 to help them purchase insurance and pay out-of-pocket costs. They would have an incentive to spend wisely since up to one-fourth of any unspent money in the accounts could be rolled over to the next year. The combination of the refundable tax credit and debit card gives lower-income Americans a way out of the Medicaid ghetto so they can have the dignity of private insurance.
I love that phrase, “Medicaid Ghetto,” because that’s what it really is. Lots of Health Care Providers don’t even take medicaid anymore because (a) it takes so long to get paid, and (b) they never reimburse for full cost — there’s always some catch, deduction, or non-covered proedure to whittle away at the reimbursement. Medicare is getting to be much the same way, which has left those who use it in an ever-declining pool of providers
And the day is coming fast when that pool is going to dry up.
States could provide one-stop insurance shopping through new Health Care Exchanges rather than giving the federal government control, as most Democratic plans would do. And it frees up Medicaid money and provides added resources to the states to target additional help to those with disabilities and low incomes. It also calls for auto-enrollment to expand insurance coverage: People will have many options and opportunities to select insurance, but if they don’t make an active choice they can be automatically enrolled in private policies financed by the tax credit.
I can’t say I’m thrilled about that last line, but it’s a sure way to get everyone off of Medicare and Medicaid — and it’s a given in the Democratic plans. And as a nurse, it’s going to take the burden off the Emergency Rooms that swell every night with indigent and government-provided helathcare recipients who have nowhere else to go.
And one thing the article doesn’t mention — widening the pool of recipients of private health insurance is bound to make costs go down — for everybody.
Let’s watch this closely. Let’s call out Senators and Representatives — right now.