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Too many Americans can’t afford health care. Families struggle under the weight of high costs, limited choices, and frustrating uncertainty. Everyone should have access to the high-quality health care they need, when they need it, at a price they can afford. It’s time to liberate doctors, patients, scientists, and inventors to make health care better, more affordable, and more available for every single American.
What Americans want:
In many ways, our health care system works quite well. The United States boasts the best cancer survival rates in the world and some of the shortest wait times. And we remain the world’s leader in developing new, life-saving therapies and cutting-edge technologies.
But improvement is needed. Health care costs are too high for Americans. And too many families experience the heartbreak of a bankruptcy due to high medical bills.
Most Americans are not calling for a government takeover of health care. We just want to fix what is broken and preserve what works.
Some people say the answer is a government takeover of health care (“Medicare for All” or “a public option”). While that simple “solution” might sound appealing, it cannot guarantee the basic protections people need. People in countries with government-run, single-payer health care typically endure chronic medical shortages, long waiting lists, and bureaucratic rationing. Tragically, it the most vulnerable who suffer the most under such systems: the sick, the elderly, and people with chronic medical conditions.
Even a “public option” approach will cause tens of millions of Americans to lose their existing health plan and will inevitably lead to a government takeover that means higher costs and less access for everyone. It will make it harder for people to get the care they need when they need it.
Instead of a “public option,” Americans need a Personal Option: universal access to affordable, high-quality care – without a government takeover.
How can we achieve such an option? First, we need to reimagine health care and not let ourselves be trapped by old thinking. Second, we need to pursue four basic goals:
What follows are the specific reforms, and the legislative proposals, that we believe can create a Personal Option.
Congress should expand and strengthen tax-free Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), so more families can benefit from this powerful savings tool and use it for more kinds of care and coverage, including, for example. direct medical care subscriptions (convenient, round-the-clock access to a trusted doctor):
Congress should unleash a digital health revolution – and save lives – by making telehealth available in Medicare:
States should expand the supply of hospitals and cutting-edge technology, and thus reduce costs, by repealing local “certificate of need” laws:
States should let medical professionals practice across state lines by automatically recognizing the licenses of medical professionals licensed in other states.
State and federal policymakers should allow nurses and physicians assistants to provide the services they’re trained for, where they’re needed, regardless of where they’re licensed:
The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should allow free speech in medicine so drug manufacturers can legally share with doctors truthful and non-misleading information about off-label uses of their drugs.
To speed new life-saving therapies to market, Congress should require automatic FDA recognition of drugs that have been approved by countries we trust:
Congress should bring down the cost of prescription drugs through competition:
Congress should ensure safe and reliable diagnostic tests in a public health emergency:
Congress should expand access to workplace health reimbursement arrangements (tax-free money for health care):
Congress should enable people to buy health insurance tailored to their needs by expanding access to short term renewable plans, which are typically 50% to 80% less expensive than traditional plans:
Congress should let individuals and businesses band together to buy affordable coverage at group rates:
Congress should restore robust, thriving health insurance markets by channeling all of the funding and mandates of the deeply flawed Affordable Care Act (ACA) back to the states, while retaining protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
Federal and state policymakers should adopt sensible rules to promote price transparency and truth-in-advertising, so patients know what their care will cost, up front, before they have to pay for it.
Congress should repeal federal policies, such as the insurance mandates of the Affordable Care Act, that incentivize insurers to deny patients access to doctors and hospitals via narrow networks.
Congress should modernize and strengthen Medicare to give seniors more freedom and better access to doctors and therapies at lower cost:
Congress should restore Medicaid to its original mission of being a safety net for the most vulnerable by transforming it into a system of generous, flexible block grants to states, with the grants capped at a level taxpayers can afford.
There is no single, simple cure for what ails American health care. A government takeover would only make things worse. Doubling down on the failed status quo would be a terrible mistake.
Instead of a “public option,” America needs a Personal Option: a set of sensible, principled reforms that would make American health care better, more affordable, and more accessible for everyone – and the envy of the world.