Thursday, November 15, 2007

Candidate Review - Health Care - Duncan Hunter

Well Duncan Hunters plan likewise steers well clear of socialism. Rather his plan is to give consumers more options.
Since World War II, when employer sponsored health care became a more widely offered employee benefit, spending has increased from 5% of GNP to 16% today. Systematically, the eye of the health care consumer has been removed from the market place. Whether it is employers offering a single insurance option or the government making health care choices on behalf of the elderly and the poor, consumers have been increasingly removed from the market place. The result has been a system with costs increasing at rates that are neither sustainable nor practical.

The solution is freedom for the consumer to pursue their own health care choices. Therefore, I propose three major reforms that will bring the consumer back into the health care equation: 1. freedom to buy health insurance across state lines; 2. freedom to make informed health care choices; and 3. freedom to innovate to save money and improve medical outcomes.
The problem with this plan is something Hunter notes in the first paragraph quoted. Most individual consumers don't make decisions on their health care. I am not tempted to go into Alabama to get my health care, because my health care decisions are made by the Human Resources director at the place I work at. And there is also a real question if, even if the government allowed me to buy health insurance in Alabama, would the insurance companies be interested in selling it here?

And his second plank falls on the same problem; there are some who buy individual insurance but a lot don't. His final plank calls for four test hospitals which will be free of government interference, apparently, and free to provide experimental treatments to those who qualify. Good enough as far as it goes, but not that exciting.

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