Steve Forbes, the one-time Republican presidential candidate who runs Forbes Media, says socialized medicine is not the cure to what ails Obamacare.
Instead, the U.S. needs to undertake reforms that will improve access to health care without bankrupting taxpayers.
“Currently, the patient isn’t the ‘customer,’” Forbes writes on Forbes.com. “Republicans should be ready with proposals that will help health care ultimately become a normal market, where patients are in charge, not such third-party payers as health insurers, Medicare and Medicaid.”
President Barack Obama in 2010 enacted the Affordable Care Act in the most significant overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. The goal was to cut the number of uninsured from an estimated 45 million people by using tax incentives, penalties and subsidies for medical coverage.
President-elect Donald Trump promised to repeal Obamacare as part of his campaign to replace the unpopular program, whose cost has skyrocketed for participants.
Forbes provides seven recommendations on what to do next:
- Nationwide shopping for health insurance. “Let scores of companies compete for your business instead of the handful you now have.”
- Transparency for prices. “Require hospitals and clinics to post their prices for all treatments, medications and services.”
- Transparency of performance. “Require hospitals to post monthly statements on how many patients died from infections contracted after they were admitted.”
- Medicare transparency. More information about payments to help root out fraud and abuse.
- Equalized tax treatment. If businesses and the self-employed can deduct their premiums, why can’t individuals buying insurance on their own?
- Freedom of choice. “Let people choose their own policies, not be required to accept what bureaucrats think they should have.”
- No more threatening mandates. “Forcing employers and individuals to purchase insurance is un-American and unconstitutional.” (Chief Justice John Roberts was criticized for ruling the penalty for not buying insurance was a tax whose payment could be shared, effectively giving renewed life to Obamacare.)
The future system should continue to provide the “very popular” family mandate that covers children until they’re 26 years old, Forbes says.
In addition, Republicans will have to figure out a way to fund care for “genuinely uninsurable individuals,” he says.
“Otherwise, we’ll continue to be stuck with the take-all-comers mandate for insurers that has led to an enormous gaming of the system: Don’t buy coverage until you’re sick,” he says.
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