Monday, November 8, 2010

Heritage's Moffit: Health Care Reform Must Focus on Portability, Individual Control

Today, Robert Moffit, PhD, a Senior Fellow at the Heritage Foundation addressed the staggering problem with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), in its failure to address cost reform, portability and individual control.  Moffit addressed a crowd of nearly 100 at the monthly First State Patriots meeting in Middletown, DE.  Moffit eloquently laid out some concerns with this legislation that will shock even the informed voter.

Moffit said Congress should immediately at its first availability schedule a vote to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  The reasons for this are based on the individual mandate which appears to be a violation of the 10th Amendment which defer non-federal issues to the states' to resolve.  Second on the list the false pretense on passing the bill that the bill would lower costs.  Since the passage of the bill on March 21st, the spending curves for health care appear to be increasing, contrary to what was originally promised.  Third and lastly, is the bill fails to restore the traditional doctor-patient relationship and interjects the government into the examination room.

Despite the claims by President Obama the bill is a full-scale takeover of the health care industry.  The bill dictates what health care plan you may have, what coverage you are entitled to, a what treatment you are eligible for and what the cost parameters to that treatment. Since the passage of the bill, we all now know that this bill has stolen the valuable and precious doctor-patient relationship and has interjected the government into the examination room, who will decide (rather than the doctors we trust) on what treatment we can received.  And that alone is a miscarriage of justice.

As if the theft of the traditional doctor-patient relationship was not enough, the bill transfers the state oversight of health care insurance from the state level to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.  This is a complete and total diminished role of state's Insurance Commissioners, and violation of the Tenth Amendment.

No one is questioning that the care system in America is broken. It is, but what is broken is the cost of health care - not the delivery of care.  The primary goal of any health care reform bill hinges on three core principles.  The first is the complete restoration of the traditional doctor-patient relationship, where the doctor is the sole decider on the course of treatment.   The second is that individuals and/or families control what health care policy is right for them, just like they would do with a automobile, life or homeowners policy.  Third, the individual and/or families would decide on a health care plan based on value and relevance for them, not a preconceived mandate from the federal government.

In evaluating the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Congress errored on two key points in the Constitution in authoring and passing this bill.  The errors reside in Article I, Section 8 where Congress is given two explicit powers - the power to raise revenue (tax policy) and the power to regulate or promote interstate commerce.

Within these powers, Congress has the power to drive tax policy to alter the tax consequence of health insurance.  Let's review history for a moment and compare the tax policy today versus in 1940s when businesses gave incentives for health care insurance to add to total compensation to attract workers in the post World War II economy.  Within this scenario, the employee would be exempt from the tax liability of the employer-provided health care, while the employer received a tax incentive to offer it. The only problem with this plan is that the health care plan is not portable.

In contrast to every other economic sector, health care insurance is not competitive.  In those sectors, the individual can get what they want, for what they want to pay (price).  That is not allowed in the health care "market", as the system directly causes large number of Americans to be uninsured or under-insured.  The only way to fix this is to tie the health care policy to the person, and not the job. In order to do this, you must reform the IRS tax code such that the tax relief is given for individuals who purchase health care insurance on their own.

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