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Easier solutions would address health reform

Freedom New Mexico

Robert Moffit, director of the Center for Health Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation, met recently with a Freedom Communications editorial board in California for a discussion about the impending consequences of the new, 2,300-page health care law and simple, practical legislative alternatives to Obamacare that could better address problems in the U.S. health system.

Moffit lamented Obamacare’s unnecessary heavy spending and its propensity to undermine personal and economic freedoms. He said Congress essentially dictated to people what health insurance they can purchase and how they can purchase it, while at the same time failing to address the real problems with the nation’s health care system.

Most concerning to Moffit is that the law reduces the states to vehicles of federal policy, a clear subversion of our federalist system. As he put it, Americans are uniquely citizens of both the United States and their respective states.

The health care bill essentially makes state governments subordinate to federal power more so than ever before in our country’s history. As Jonathan Turley, a professor of law at George Washington University said, if Obamacare is successful it would keep federalism on life support with a “do not resuscitate order.”

Of course, repealing the new law would not solve underlying issues with health care in the United States, such as getting coverage for pre-existing conditions and the skyrocketing costs of treatment. Moffit and his colleagues at Heritage are calling for the creation of insurance “risk pools” at the state level that spread out the costs of treating higher-risk people across more carriers.

Also, Moffit says, Congress needs to amend current tax law that discriminates against

individual insurance purchasers in favor of being insured through an employer. A tax incentive exists for those insured through their employer that is denied to consumers who buy their own coverage.

Also, people insured under a company plan who transfer to another company plan are protected from being denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions, which is not the case when people transfer from an individual plan to a company plan or vice versa.

Making such changes could be as simple as drafting five or six pages of legislation, he says. Moffit argues Obamacare will raise health care costs by adding coverage mandates and new rules. What needs to be done instead, he argues, is to stimulate competition among insurers by lifting laws that prevent competition across state lines.

Effectively addressing health care deficiencies in our country should start with repealing Obamacare, then stopping discrimination against people who can’t buy insurance through their employer and, finally, by allowing competition in insurance across state lines.