Uncle Max's Musings on Politics and Culture

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Healthcare Reform – Is There A Libretarian Option? October 3, 2009

Filed under: Healthcare Reform — Larry E. Stuckey II @ 4:40 am

In many ways, a lot of you know that I am somewhat libertarian in my political leanings.  So, I found this past issue of Atlantic Monthly fascinating that proposed a very libertarian option for healthcare reform.  Given the current political landscape, the article admits that we can probably not move to this option right away, but once we expand coverage (what I have come to realize is the most important part of this current legislation – thanks for getting me there NV) we should consider this more consumer-directed option.  Here are a few highlights . . .

  • Replace our current web of employer-based insurance and government-based insurance with a single program for catastrophic and chronic condition insurance with fixed premiums based solely on age
  • Realize that consumers drive down the price of healthcare.  Has Lasik surgery become cheaper?  Yes.  Why?  Consumers shop for the best quality at the best price.  Have MRIs become cheaper?  No.  Why?  Consumers rarely shop for a procedure that insurance will cover. 
  • Maintain government safety nets for the poor
  • Mandate healthcare savings accounts for working Americans where they contribute a percentage of their post-tax income based on age

It’s a long article, but it is the worth the read.  For me here is the money quote:

 “I hope that whatever reform is finally enacted this fall works—preventing people from slipping through the cracks, raising the quality standard of the health-care industry, and delivering all this at acceptable cost. But looking at the big picture, I fear it won’t. So I think we should at least begin to debate and think about larger reforms, and a different direction—if not for this round of reform, then for the next one. Politics is, of course, the art of the possible. If our health-care crisis does not abate, the possibilities for reform may expand beyond their current, tight limits.”

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