I’m getting a lot of emails about Bobby Jindal’s “proposal” in the Washington Post yesterday. My sarcasm is starting to bleed through here, but it’s amazing how many things are being thrown out this late in the game that aren’t new. Here’s a summary:
1. Voluntary purchasing pools: Give individuals and small businesses the opportunities that large businesses and the government have to seek lower insurance costs.
Hmmmm. Sounds like an insurance exchange. Sounds like the Wyden-Bennett bill. In fact, sounds like he wants businesses allowed in the exchange, which many Republicans seem to oppose.
2. Portability: As people change jobs or move across state lines, they change insurance plans. By allowing consumers to “own” their policies, insurers would have incentive to make more investments in prevention and in managing chronic conditions.
Is there anyone who disagrees with this anymore? Again, sounds suspiciously like what we’d get with a robust exchange or the Wyden-Bennett bill. Or the Wyden Amendment.
3. Lawsuit reform: It makes no sense to ignore one of the biggest cost drivers in the system — the cost of defensive medicine, largely driven by lawsuits. Worse, many doctors have stopped performing high-risk procedures for fear of liability.
Tort reform! Oh yeah, we talked about that already.
4. Require coverage of preexisting conditions: Insurance should not be least accessible when it is needed most. Companies should be incentivized to focus on delivering high-quality effective care, not to avoid covering the sick.
…. Is this not the whole thrust of President Obama’s plan? Cover pre-existing conditions?
5. Transparency and payment reform: Consumers have more information when choosing a car or restaurant than when selecting a health-care provider. Provider quality and cost should be plainly available to consumers, and payment systems should be based on outcomes, not volume. Today’s system results in wide variations in treatment instead of the consistent application of best practices. We must reward efficiency and quality.
Everyone wants this. Find me anyone who opposes this. Seriously. I want to meet them.
6. Electronic medical records: The current system of paper records threatens patient privacy and leads to bad outcomes and higher costs.
Well, I dispute this. I think there is insufficient evidence to prove this will lower costs. I do think that it may improve outcomes. But his argument isn’t with me, it’s with the Democrats. And they totally agree with him.
7. Tax-free health savings accounts: HSAs have helped reduce costs for employers and consumers. Some businesses have seen their costs decrease by double-digit percentages. But current regulations discourage individuals and small businesses from utilizing HSAs.
Huh? These have been around for years. They won’t work as promised. But that hasn’t prevented them from being around. What is he talking about?
8. Reward healthy lifestyle choices: Providing premium rebates and other incentives to people who make healthy choices or participate in management of their chronic diseases has been shown to reduce costs and improve health.
This is another low hanging fruit. Personally, I don’t think this will do much. We already reward those who don’t smoke with lower rates. People still smoke. And good luck trying to make people less obese. Because, you know, we’ve been trying to do that unsuccessfully for a long time now. This is nibbling at the edges.
9. Cover young adults: A large portion of the uninsured are people who cannot afford coverage after they have “aged out” of their parents’ policies. Permitting young people to stay on their parents’ plans longer would reduce the number of uninsured and keep healthy people in insurance risk pools — helping to lower premiums for everyone.
Yep. Get everyone in the system. Want to join the mandate train, Governor?
10. Refundable tax credits (for the uninsured and those who would benefit from greater flexibility of coverage): Redirecting some of the billions already spent on the uninsured will help make non-emergency care outside the emergency room affordable for millions and will provide choices of coverage through the private market rather than forcing people into a government-run system. We should trust American families to make choices for themselves while we ensure they have access to quality, affordable health care.
Sounds suspiciously like giving people subsidies so they can buy their own insurance. Much like… wait for it… HR3200. Yes, he’s against a public plan. So he would support the bill without a public plan?
Can someone tell me where the radical new ideas are? Or, perhaps, how this truly differs from HR3200 with a robust exchange and no public plan? Or the Wyden-Bennett bill?
Welcome to the table, Governor Jindal!
UPDATE: Forgot a link!