Monday, February 15, 2010

Ten Small-Scale Reforms for Pre-Existing Conditions

John Goodman and the National Center for Policy Analysis have proposed "Ten Small-Scale Reforms for Pre-Existing Conditions". All of these would move us in the right direction of free-market health reforms, without creating a huge new government welfare entitlement.

The ideas include:
* Encourage portable insurance.
* Allow special health savings accounts for the chronically ill.
* Allow special needs health insurance.
* Allow health status insurance.
* Allow self-insurance for changes in health status.
* Give people on their own the same tax break employees get.
* Allow providers to repackage and reprice their services under Medicare and Medicaid.
* Allow access to mandate-free insurance.
* Create a national market for health insurance.
* Encourage post-retirement health insurance.
According to Goodman, "These 10 reforms would encourage insurers to compete to cover patients with chronic illnesses, rather than trying to avoid them. They would give doctors and other health care providers incentives to innovate, and to use technology in order to improve quality and reduce costs".

For further details of each proposal, see the full text of "Ten Small-Scale Reforms for Pre-Existing Conditions". There's also a PDF version.

Update: Trey Givens raised a good point in the comments about point 7 ("Allow providers to repackage and reprice their services under Medicare/Medicaid").

My $0.02: Eventually, the government should get out of all providing health insurance since that's outside of its basic function of protecting individual rights. But point 7 could be a transitional step towards eventual complete privatization of such programs. As Lin Zinser and I discussed in our TOS article on "Universal Health Care", those programs can't be eliminated overnight.

I personally believe that #7 could be an appropriate part of the process of phasing them out. (I'm not necessarily speaking for my co-author Lin on this matter.) Thanks, Trey, for pointing this out!