Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Remove employers from health care equation

Clive Crook, of National Journal, writes,

Much more needs to be done to push employers out of the health insurance market. Most of the reforms now being touted, by Democrats and Republicans alike, aim to do the opposite.

...You could give everybody a voucher (which could be used as partial payment for a more expensive policy) and recover the cost from general taxation. Or you could give full vouchers only to people on low incomes, tapering the value to zero as incomes rose, again asking taxpayers to pick up the check -- and in this case also mandating that everybody buy at least the basic plan. You could satisfy the "ignore pre-existing conditions" criterion either through regulation or by adjusting the value of vouchers according to health risk. The cost would depend on such details, and many more besides -- but you can be sure it would not be small.

Eliminating the tax deductibility of business expense on health care premiums would be a good start...


Robert said...

Current system is rough on us age 50+ self employed people. I am effectively limited to states with decent high risk pools (Nebraska, California, and Oregon). I cannot get private insurance with a $20K deductable. No medical events, just overweight with high blood pressure.

Scott said...

I agree with your assessment. I think that there is a market opportunity in the private health insurance business to provide coverage to individuals that are currently considered "high risk." The key would be a high deductible, some non-conventional risk analysis, and some outsourcing of certain types of medical care. You have probably heard of what is referred to as "medical tourism", where people fly to India to have major surgery at a fraction of the cost that the same procedure would entail here in the US.

I am not the person to do a startup in the insurance business (at this time :) ), but hopefully someone will take a hard look at this.