Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Brian Schwartz LTE in Rocky Mountain News

The August 13, 2007 Rocky Mountain News printed the following LTE by Brian Schwartz:
Free markets key to affordable health care

The Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care Reform has some nerve. Its favorite plans involve funding government programs by taxing you when purchasing snacks, alcohol and cigarettes ("Healthy living may pay off/Sin taxes could fund statewide medical coverage," Aug. 1).

Yet, as shown by FAIR, my proposal at the commission's Web site, such meddling in our private choices has crippled health-care markets.

First, because the tax code deeply discounts employer-paid insurance, you're essentially stuck with your employer's comprehensive plans. These discourage doctors from competing on price and service. As a captive customer, insurers can afford to mistreat you. Changing insurers requires your finding another job or paying taxes on dollars spent on an individual plan.

Second, mandated insurance benefits significantly increase premium costs, hence making it a crime to purchase affordable insurance. Further, ineffective Medicare and Medicaid programs drive up insurance costs.

Instead of further eroding our freedom, the commission should repeal legislation that prevents free markets from delivering affordable, quality health care.

Brian T. Schwartz, Boulder