When it returns in August, the House of Representatives will be considering this health care "reform" turd, er, legislation, which is 1017 pages long. Supposedly, it is designed to lower our health insurance costs. I am admittedly no expert, but my general rule of thumb is that any turds, er, legislation over 1000 pages in length normally increase costs, not lower them.
Indeed, while I have only made it through the first 40-some pages of this turd, er, legislation, I have uncovered several provisions that will increase the costs of health insurance coverage. The provisions I have seen so far require community rating (i.e., the insurer must determine its risks based upon the community in which you live rather than your actual health condition or the health condition of your employer's group), mandate that every health insurance policy provide certain types of coverage, place limits on deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses, and co-pays, prohibit cost-sharing for preventative care, and prohibit annual or lifetime caps on coverage. Except for the community rating requirement, all of these provisions will necessarily increase the costs of health insurance coverage, and if you are young and healthy, the community rating provision will increase your costs as well.
If the goal is to actually reduce the costs of health care, Keith Hennessey, the former Director of the National Economic Council under President George W. Bush, has some proposed reforms that would actually work. In part, Mr. Hennessey would make the following changes:
1. Repeal the current law tax exclusion for employer provided health insurance, and replace it with a $7,500 (single) / $15K (family) flat deduction for buying health insurance.
2. Index the thresholds to inflation (CPI).
3. Allow the purchase of health insurance sold anywhere in the U.S., which would force States to compete for the right regulatory balance of consumer protection and premium cost.
4. Make health insurance portable.
5. Expand Health Savings Accounts.
6. Continue to mandate an initial deductible and catastrophic protection.
7. Aggressively reform medical liability aka “medical tort reform.”
8. Aggressively slow Medicare and Medicaid spending growth, and use the savings
for long-term deficit reduction.