Republicans are always portrayed as being against anything the Democrats propose, and this includes ObamaCare. As the saying goes, “You can’t beat something with nothing.” The GOP comes across as naysayers with few viable alternatives. Part of the problem for Republicans is that they are generally against government solutions. It’s hard to beat the Democrats when the Democrats are promising all kinds of voter benefits with other people’s money.
Wouldn’t it be great if the Republicans offered a viable non-government alternative to nationalized healthcare without it costing tax payers any money? In 1964, Ronald Reagan warned what would happen if government healthcare became a reality. In his famous speech “A Time for Choosing” introducing Barry Goldwater at the 1964 Republican Convention, he said:
“Will you resist the temptation to get a government handout for your community? Realize that the doctor’s fight against socialized medicine is your fight. We can’t socialize the doctors without socializing the patients. Recognize that government invasion of public power is eventually an assault upon your own business. If some among you fear taking a stand because you are afraid of reprisals from customers, clients, or even government, recognize that you are just feeding the crocodile hoping he’ll eat you last.”
In 1964, there wasn’t even the hint of the internet, alternative media, and ways to shop for almost anything online, from ant farms to zinc supplements and everything in between. I can go to BookFinder.com and shop for books, from the lowest price to the highest price without ever leaving my house. The same is true of eBay and Amazon. Online shopping has made Christmas shopping a breeze for my wife.
It’s interesting that President Obama talked about “competition” in shopping for healthcare. But there can’t be competition when the government mandates that certain things must be covered.
The first thing that needs to be proposed is that government gets completely out of the government mandated healthcare business at the federal and state levels.
Second, healthcare companies should be able to compete across state lines. If Geico, Progressive, Allstate, and other automobile insurers can advertise and promote lower rates, then why shouldn’t health insurance providers be able to do the same?
Third, healthcare coverage should be à la carte. We hate it when cable and satellite companies force us into buying a bundled subscription plan when we only want about 10 to 20 channels. Because of this, companies like Netflix and Amazon are breaking the stranglehold. People are dropping cable and satellite and opting for alternatives.
If a family wants maternity coverage or birth control devices, they’re the ones that should pay for the provisions just like smokers pay more for life insurance. You can even pick the insurance amounts and type you want — term, whole life, level term, universal life, etc. Maybe some people want minimal coverage or a catastrophic policy. They’re willing to pay cash for other medical needs.
Fourth, let the market place compete for customers. Websites could be designed so that people can shop for what they want like Kayak does for travel. Competition will bring down prices and add variety and options. In fact, a healthcare website has already been built to show that it can be done without any government money or control:
“Meet the Health Sherpa, the website HealthCare.gov probably should have been. George Kalogeropoulos, Ning Liang and Michael Wasser saw the troubled launch and decided they could do a better health care enrollment website better than the government and, by golly, they succeeded. The Health Sherpa makes it ridiculously easy for anyone to compare health care plans covered under Obamacare in 34 states. (They left out the 16 states with existing marketplace sites, though it seems support for those states is coming soon.) The result is a simple, beautiful, remarkably responsive website that anyone could use.”
Fifth, what about the people who can’t afford healthcare? This can be solved through tax incentives. Doctors who provide care for the indigent get large tax breaks. Some doctors will volunteer their services. There are already non-profit groups that raise money for special healthcare needs.
Sixth, give people and doctors the choice of paying for medical care in cash. If we all did this except for the most catastrophic illness, we would see healthcare costs plummet.
Some might want to propose that all healthcare expenditures should be tax deductible. That gets the government involved. I would rather see taxes lowered. With more money in everybody’s pocket, there will be more jobs and more money for people to pay for their own healthcare. With more discretionary income, donations to organizations that help care for people who are truly in need will rise.
There are better ways to solve this problem than turning it over to the equivalent of Federal DMV.
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