By Dave Funk, Republican Congressional Candidate, 3rd District, Iowa
Every day, the American people are inundated with stories of a health care crisis. We hear the grossly inflated figures about the number of uninsured Americans and how government can fix the problem by adopting a single payer system and layers of bureaucracy. The truth is that over ninety percent of us have health insurance and over three quarters of us are happy with our current policies and coverage.
The bottom line is good care is expensive. Homes and cars today have more standard features than they did twenty years ago yet none of us complain about the higher cost. Virtually anywhere in this country, if you’re injured in an accident, numerous medical professionals, from first responders to hospital personnel, will literally risk their lives to save yours. This is a system built by free people who respect life and all it brings. No government program can duplicate that as efficiently as the free market already has.
The reality is that every time government takes over something, costs rise while quality and availability decrease. There is little, if anything, that government can do better and more cost effectively than the private sector. A free market system is far less costly and far more efficient.
Among the first things we can do to fix our current system is meaningful tort reform. This will help to lower health care costs by allowing doctors to not have to practice defensive medicine—an expense that some experts estimate wastes over $200 billion a year. Not surprisingly, in over 1,000 pages of proposed legislation, Democrat sponsored bill HR 3200 makes no mention of tort reform.
Another positive change would allow Health Care Savings Accounts (HSAs) that are inheritable. These accounts would enable us to save for later in life when we may need expensive care tax free in a manner like we do for retirement,. HSAs can help prevent us from becoming a financial burden on our families or society.
HSAs could be combined with Major Medical Insurance Coverage (MMIC). This coverage reduces costs by increasing the size of the insurance risk pool across multiple states. Providing competitively priced MMIC with deductibles covered by funds in HSAs and very high limits of coverage can protect all of us from lifelong financial ruin brought about catastrophic illnesses. Vouches could provide incentives for all citizens to purchase MMIC for the same reason that government requires auto insurance for car drivers to protect society and others from the financial burdens caused by inadvertent auto accidents
Let’s retake individual ownership of and responsibility for our health care expenses. A minor sinus infection or sprained ankle is something we could pay for out of pocket with funds from our HSAs. Let’s save the insurance claims, the paperwork and resultant hassles for the really big stuff.
Reintroducing choice and competition into health care will drive down costs. Another big government program will not. HR 3200 is not a health care solution for America, but instead a total government takeover of one-sixth of our economy, another aspect of our personal lives and the very sovereignty of our bodies.
The few steps described above and a simple attitudinal shift can easily fix our alleged health care crisis without unnecessary government intrusion and another costly federal program.
Hopefully, Iowa’s 3rd District Representative will have learned from this summer’s town hall meetings, but I doubt it.
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